By: Zac Byrd, Marketing Associate, and Rachelle Frets, Manager of Government Affairs
Today, accessing broadband services is equally as critical as traditional essential utilities. As the need for equitable broadband access becomes ever more pressing, several federal programs have been instituted to ensure that all Americans can connect to this vital resource. Central to these initiatives is the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric data, a robust data tool to facilitate the effective deployment and reporting of broadband services.
Below, we aim to provide a comprehensive guide to frequently asked questions regarding the fabric licensing process and use of CostQuest’s Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric data for the NTIA’s BEAD program, as well as other federal programs available now and in the future.
What is the NTIA Fabric License, and what programs can it be used for?
CostQuest is contracted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to provide the Fabric data. This data can be accessed through the NTIA Fabric License Tiers – A, B, C, D, and E. This framework has been designed to support the objectives of the Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program and other federal broadband programs available today or in the future through a federal broadband granting agency (FBGA). An awardee of federal funds will also need to license the data to satisfy the 60105 compliance reporting required in the Infrastructure, Investments, and Jobs Act. If your organization currently participates or intends to participate in federally funded broadband programs or the state-led challenge process, the NTIA Fabric license may support these activities in accordance with the terms of the License Agreement.
What is included in the NTIA Fabric File?
Once your license is approved, you will receive the NTIA Fabric File. The Fabric file is a .csv file that includes the unique location ID for each Broadband Serviceable Location, the latitude/longitude for each location, and information about the structure – for example, whether the structure is a CAI or other type of structure.
What licenses are available within the NTIA program?
The different tiers of licenses are described in the table below:
Frequently Asked Questions on Fabric Licensing
I have already signed an agreement with CostQuest for an FCC license, why do I need to sign an NTIA agreement?
The FCC licenses (Tiers 1, 2, 3, & 4) are specific to FCC Broadband Data Collection (BDC) purposes. Those agreements were developed under an agreement with the FCC, which restricts the use of Licensed Materials for FCC BDC purposes. These purposes include submitting Fabric corrections as well as submitting broadband availability and availability challenges.
The NTIA licenses (Tier A, B, C, D, & E) were developed to support the BEAD program and other federal broadband programs available today or in the future and facilitate compliance with reporting obligations associated with such programs – including reporting associated with the FCC Broadband Funding Map established by section 60105 of the IIJA. If your organization currently participates or intends to participate in federal broadband programs, the NTIA license may support those activities, consistent with the terms of the License Agreement.
If I am an FCC licensee, can I use my FCC-licensed materials for purposes outside of the BDC process?
No. The FCC Licensed Materials are only for FCC BDC purposes. They can’t be used for purposes outside of the license agreement. If you are going to use FCC Licensed Materials for purposes other than BDC, this is a violation of the FCC License Agreement.
The NTIA Fabric license may be an option if you are a recipient, subrecipient, or prospective awardees of federal broadband funds from an FBGA.
How do State entities receive the NTIA license and licensed materials?
The NTIA has provided CostQuest with a list of state contracts. CostQuest sent an email to each contact. If you have not been contacted and believe you should have been, please email CostQuest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am a contractor for a State. How do I get the NTIA Fabric?
A contractor for a State can get the NTIA Fabric pursuant to the terms of the State’s Tier C license. The State should complete the NTIA Tier C license process. Once they are licensed, the State can share the Licensed Materials with you as an Authorized User, per the process outlined in the License Agreement. The Licensed Materials will be shared by the Licensee, they will not come through CostQuest. It is the Licensee’s responsibility to ensure Attachment B of their License Agreement is completed by the Authorized Users.
I am a recipient of Treasury Department funds, and I need to send my deployment information to the State. How can I do this?
Once you have received a Tier D license that covers the counties of your award, you can exchange the location ID(s) and broadband availability information corresponding to the reporting requirement. This same process can be used for other FBGA awards.
Under the NTIA Tier C Fabric, can I share data?
The NTIA Tier C license supports the distribution of Licensed Materials to a Licensee’s Authorized Users. An Authorized User may be a subcontractor or contractor working on the Licensee’s behalf to support the licensed purposes. The use of the Licensed Materials by the Authorized Users must be in support of the Licensee’s intent and consistent with the terms of the license agreement.
Under the NTIA Tier D Fabric, can I share data?
The NTIA Tier D license supports the distribution of Licensed Materials to a Licensee’s Authorized Users. An Authorized User may be a subcontractor or contractor working on the Licensee’s behalf to support the licensed purposes. The use of the Licensed Materials by the Authorized Users must be in support of the Licensee’s intent and consistent with the terms of the license agreement.
If I have additional questions on the NTIA Fabric Licensing process, who should I contact?
Please email email@example.com for any additional questions regarding the NTIA Fabric License. Or download a PDF version of the NTIA Fabric Licensing FAQ here, or visit our NTIA Fabric FAQ page.
If I have additional questions on the FCC Fabric Licensing process, who should I contact?
This FAQ does not constitute legal advice. CostQuest can’t provide legal analysis for Licensees. We recommend that any questions or concerns be discussed with your legal counsel after review of the appropriate License Agreement.
This communication does not reflect the opinion of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The NTIA and FCC are not responsible for the information or views in this communication and is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, timeliness of such information or views.