By: Hailey Farrow, Marketing Manager & Zac Byrd, Marketing Associate on behalf of CostQuest Associates.
The FCC has announced that parties may now obtain a Fabric license to use the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) for the purpose of conducting non-commercial academic or public-policy research directly related to broadband availability. Below is a breakdown of the FCC’s public notice regarding this new FCC Fabric Tier 4 license agreement.
FCC Fabric Use Restrictions
Under the FCC Fabric Tier 4 license for research, licensees cannot use the Fabric data for commercial purposes, and can only use it for academic and public-policy research directly related to broadband availability.
How to obtain a Fabric license for research
For “entities seeking to conduct non-commercial academic or public-policy research directly related to broadband availability”, they can obtain a Fabric license through the following steps:
- Such entities must first obtain a username, password, and FRN (FCC Registration Number) via the Commission Registration System (CORES) at https://apps.fcc.gov/cores/userLogin.do.
- Then, log into the BDC system at http://bdc.fcc.gov using that username and password to fill in the Entity Information page for the FRN.
- Entities will then receive an email from CostQuest about how to execute a limited end-user license agreement for the Fabric. Depending on its organization type, the entity may need to provide a brief description of how the intended use of the Fabric data supports non-commercial academic or public-policy research and how the organization is involved in issues related to broadband availability.
For more information, please visit How Entities Can Access the Location Fabric – BDC Help Center (fcc.gov)
The progression and updates on the Fabric data process
Version 1 of the Fabric was made available to internet service providers and state, local, and Tribal governmental entities in June of 2022, “so that they could submit broadband service availability data for the first round of the Broadband Data Collection filings due September 1, 2022. On September 12th, 2022, entities were able to submit bulk challenges to the Fabric data. On November 15th, 2022, other entities and organizations were also able to obtain a license to access the Fabric that allows them to submit challenges to the Fabric and service availability data, as well as crowdsource data to improve the accuracy of the BDC National Broadband Maps. Version 2 of the Fabric data was made available to all licensed entities on January 3, 2023. As of April 2023, Version 3 of the Fabric data is currently in production to support the next round of Broadband Data Collection filings due September 1st, 2023.
Overview of the Fabric and the Broadband Data Act
As defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Fabric is a “common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband internet can be installed, as determined by the Commission.” The Fabric provides us with the foundation of locational information that enables the discovery of which areas of the country need broadband services.
As required by the law in the Broadband Data Act, the Fabric data “shall serve as the foundation upon which all data relating to the availability of fixed broadband internet access service shall be reported and overlaid.” In other words, the Fabric data is just location data and does not include service availability information. The FCC takes the Fabric location data and combines it with the service availability information submitted by ISPs, to create the National Broadband Map.
The Broadband Data Act also requires the Commission to create a process where the Fabric may be challenged by consumers, state, local, and Tribal governmental entities, or other individuals. Fabric challenges that are accepted will be reflected in the updated map.
More resources about the FCC Fabric, Broadband Data Collection, and obtaining a Fabric license:
Technical resources related to the Fabric, including tutorials, knowledge base articles, FAQs, and other information, are available on the BDC Help Center, and on CostQuest’s Fabric Resource Center and FAQ pages.
To learn how to obtain a Fabric license, please visit the FCC’s web page linked below or see the steps listed in the above article:
For information about the Broadband Data Collection, please visit the BDC website at:
This communication does not reflect the opinion or the policy of the Federal Communications Commission. The 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.