Answers to Common FCC Fabric Questions

By: Hailey Farrow, Marketing Manager on behalf of CostQuest Associates.

*Updated December 5th, 2022

The Broadband Data Collection and the FCC Fabric are new processes and concepts in the broadband industry. Common questions we’re hearing are:

  1. What is the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric?
  2. What is a Broadband Serviceable Location?
  3. What can I use the FCC Fabric data for?
  4. Why are my customer locations (addresses) not in the FCC Fabric?

Listed below are answers to these common questions.

1) What is the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric?

The FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric is “a common dataset of all residential and business locations (or structures) in the U.S. where fixed broadband internet access service can be installed. These locations make up the points that will appear on the National Broadband Map.” Each point represents a Broadband Serviceable Location, as determined by the Commission. The link to the FCC’s Fabric definition can be found here (page 2).

2) What is a Broadband Serviceable Location?

A Broadband Serviceable Location (BSL) is a residential or business location where fixed broadband internet access service can be installed, as defined by the Commission.

  • A residential BSL is a residential structure, including structures that are (or contain) housing units or group quarters (as those terms are defined by the United States Census Bureau).
  • A business BSL includes “all non-residential (business, government, non-profit, etc.) structures that are on the property without residential locations and that would expect to demand Internet access service.”
  • The Broadband Serviceable Locations in the Fabric will “reflect each location as a single point defined by a set of geographic coordinates that fall within the footprint of a building.”
  • BSLs are NOT units or addresses. They are structures needing services. (Ex: A multi-dwelling unit such as an apartment building may have multiple addresses, however, the building structure is the BSL and will have the main address for that location.)

3) What can I use the FCC Fabric data for?

Eligible entities must sign a license agreement with CostQuest Associates in order to access and use the FCC Fabric data. Depending on the classification of the user, the FCC Fabric can be used in a variety of ways. These classifications are whether the user is an ISP, a Government Entity, or other interested parties. ISPs are permitted to use the FCC Fabric as follows:

  • The data can be used to support their BDC findings
  • ISPs must sign an End User Licensing Agreement
  • No commercial use of the data is permitted to ISPs

Designated government entities have the freedom to use the FCC Fabric as follows once they sign an End User License Agreement with CostQuest:

  • The data can be used to support the BDC process and challenges
  • Designated entities can use the FCC Fabric for State Broadband Mapping
    • The classification of a “designated entity” must be made by the FCC
  • No commercial use outside of State Broadband Mapping, BDC process, and challenges

Any user who does not fall under the classification of ISP or Designated Government Entity can use and obtain the FCC Fabric as follows:

  • Interested parties have the option to request access to the Fabric via the FCC themselves.
  • The Fabric may ONLY be used for BDC purposes and challenge processes.
  • Any party who falls under this classification is NOT permitted to use the FCC Fabric for commercial use.

Other uses of the FCC Fabric data require additional data usage rights permitted in a separate licensing agreement.

Below are examples of prohibited uses of Fabric data for ISPs and other parties:

  • Cannot use to prepare for the BEAD program, grant proposals, or other funding programs initiatives
  • Cannot use for Broadband Mapping
  • Cannot use for Opportunity Analysis
  • Cannot use for Network Planning or Design
  • Cannot use for Marketing purposes, such as sending mailers to addresses or identifying new customers to target marketing efforts towards
  • Cannot use for any other purposes outside of the Broadband Data Collection

4) Why are my customer locations (addresses) not in the FCC Location Fabric?

There is a multitude of reasons why a customer’s address is not identified or has difficulty matching with a location in the Fabric. Here are a couple of examples of why this is:

  1. The Address may not be an exact match to the standardized addresses in the FCC Location Fabric. A georeferencing solution may be required to match the address to the correct Fabric location. CostQuest can help with this.
  2. The address of a location may not meet the FCC’s requirements of a Broadband Serviceable Location, therefore is not represented in the Fabric. Submitting polygons of service into the Broadband Data Collection will help mitigate this issue to help represent areas where a provider can and could service.
  3. The customer address is a new building structure, therefore is not yet represented in the Fabric. Please submit this location in the BDC Challenge Process as a possible Broadband Serviceable Location.

For further clarification, submit your questions to the Broadband Data Collection Help Center or email Fabric Support

Read the FCC Fabric FAQ to see more answers to frequently asked questions


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is not responsible for the information or views in this communication and is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of such information or views.

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