By: Zac Byrd, Marketing Associate & Hailey Farrow, Marketing Manager on behalf of CostQuest Associates
On July 3rd, 2023, the FCC announced the opening of the 3rd Broadband Data Collection (BDC) Filing window, the opening of the Fabric Version 3 Challenge Process, and the availability of the 3rd version of the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) location database.
4 things you should know:
- Fabric licenses will receive an email from CostQuest regarding the process to get the latest version of the Fabric data (Version 3). Entities without a license agreement can obtain access by following the instructions provided at the Location Fabric – BDC Help Center (fcc.gov).
- BDC Filings for service availability and other required data as of June 30th, 2023, are due September 1st, 2023.
- The FCC Fabric location database has been updated and is in its 3rd Version.
- The Fabric Version 3 Challenge Process is now open. Submit challenges by September 8th for challenges to be incorporated in the next version of the Fabric (Version 4).
The 3rd Broadband Data Collection Filing window is now open
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Broadband Data Task Force released an announcement regarding the opening of the 3rd Broadband Data Collection (BDC) filing window for submitting broadband availability and other data up to June 30th, 2023.
As of July 3rd, 2023, “facilities-based broadband service providers may begin to file in the BDC system the data that reflects where they made mass-market broadband services available and must also submit the subscription data as of June 30, 2023, required under Form 477 in the BDC system”, (Public Notice).
The deadline for submitting all availability, subscription, and other required data is September 1, 2023.
Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric Version 3 is now available
The Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) is a critical component for collecting fixed broadband availability data and has been updated for use in the 3rd BDC Filing round. Existing Fabric licensees will receive an email from CostQuest with instructions on how to access Version 3 of the Fabric data.
Version 3 of the Fabric integrates data from updated data sources and various improvement initiatives carried out by the FCC and CostQuest. The changes also reflect the outcome of Fabric challenges that were submitted by broadband service providers, the public, Tribal, state, and local governments through the National Broadband Map and the FCC’s BDC Bulk Challenge Process.
Updates from previous versions of the Fabric include additional Broadband Serviceable Locations and corrections to addresses, unit counts, building types, land use, and geographic coordinates, to ensure a more accurate data collection.
- An update to the underlying data used in the Fabric. New or updated data sources used by the FCC’s Fabric contractor, CostQuest, to generate the Fabric could indicate the following: the presence of a broadband serviceable location (BSL) where one had not existed before (e.g., new imagery or building-footprint data, or updated information about parcel boundaries); the removal of a BSL that had been in a prior version (e.g., the demolition of a structure that was a BSL); and/or changes to the address or unit count associated with a BSL. Note that newer versions of the Fabric generally include additional secondary addresses, which may improve users’ ability to match addresses to the Fabric.
- CostQuest model changes between version releases. With each version of the Fabric, CostQuest updates model inputs, gains more information about the underlying data, and updates the logic based on feedback about the prior Fabric release. These changes can result in, for example, a more accurate selection of which structure on a parcel is the BSL.
- Manual review and visual verification. Where CostQuest’s confidence in the accuracy of certain locations is low, CostQuest will conduct one or more manual (i.e., non-automated) visual reviews of imagery and other data to determine whether or not a BSL is present. These manual reviews and visual verifications may result in a BSL being changed or removed.
- Challenges to the Fabric through the Broadband Data Collection and National Broadband Map. Fabric challenges submitted by outside parties can result in a location being added to (or removed from) the Fabric, changes to the BSL identification on a parcel, changes to unit counts, and other types of modifications to the Fabric data.
- Click here to learn more about the changes to the Fabric between versions.
- Click here to review the Fabric Changes Reports and the challenge data submitted through the FCC’s official Broadband Data Collection system.
- Entities without a Fabric license agreement can obtain access by following the instructions provided at the Location Fabric – BDC Help Center (fcc.gov).
FCC Fabric Version 3 Challenge Process is Now Open
On July 3, 2023, the FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force revealed that it is now accepting bulk challenges to Version 3 of the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric.
“Bulk Fabric challenges submitted in advance of September 8, 2023, are most likely to be reviewed in time to be accounted for the next iteration (Fabric Version 4)of the Fabric (December 2023),” (Public Notice). Challenges submitted after September 8th will still be accepted and reviewed but may be considered for a future version of the fabric.
The FCC made the announcement to coincide the availability of the June 2023 Fabric with the opening of the BDC filing window. The “Fabric data is associated with a relevant “as-of” date for fixed broadband availability data reporting, and we, therefore, release an updated iteration of Fabric data in conjunction with the opening of each biannual BDC filing window for reporting broadband availability as of June 30 or December 31,” (Public Notice).
Bulk challenges may be submitted through the BDC system at Broadband Data Collection System and will only accept bulk Fabric challenges based on the data from the June 2023 Version 3 of the Fabric as of July 1, 2023.
Pending bulk challenges to the December 2022 version of the Fabric, (submitted between March 15, 2023 – June 30, 2023), are currently being reviewed against the June 2023 Fabric and do not require resubmission. Any bulk challenges submitted on or after July 1, 2023, must be submitted specifically against the June 2023 Fabric.
Those submitting bulk Fabric challenges should do so promptly upon receiving the new data to maximize the possibility of having their challenges considered for inclusion in the December 2023 version of the Fabric. In any case, no later than September 8, 2023.
See the visual below for an estimated timeline of how the Broadband Data Collections process rolls out:
Answers to common Fabric questions
Why do I need a license with CostQuest to access the Fabric data for the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection?
- The Fabric data is owned by CostQuest and licensed to the FCC. CostQuest is contracted by the FCC to deliver a locational database of all Broadband Serviceable Locations for the Broadband Data Collection program. The FCC licenses the Fabric database for its use and for third parties to use to support the BDC program.
- CostQuest designed the Fabric database and completed its development in 2019.
Why does CostQuest get access to the location challenge data from the BDC Challenges Process?
- In order for CostQuest to fulfill its obligation to continue to improve the Fabric, CostQuest is granted certain rights to Fabric correction submissions for the purpose of correcting or otherwise modifying BDC Fabric data. Broadband service providers, governmental entities, and other third parties are able to license the Fabric dataset, which incorporates changes made as a result of challenges, at no cost for purposes of participating in the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection efforts.
- The Challenge data contributes to the Fabric but does not become a recorded or removed BSL without adjudication by the FCC. With that said, the challenges posed to the FCC are reviewed and accepted by the FCC, and the resulting challenge data submitted through the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection Challenge Process is added to the Fabric and is available to ALL entities to download and use.
Can I use the Fabric data to create mailing lists, marketing campaigns, or network plans?
- No. The use of the Fabric dataset is limited to the Permitted Uses described in the License Agreement with CostQuest. If you need a copy of your License Agreement or have questions, please contact CostQuest support, NBFsupport@costquest.com.
Visit the BDC Help Center (fcc.gov) for more information on Broadband Data Collection Filings, how to navigate the challenge process, and learn more about the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric. Here you will find valuable resources and assistance to ensure a smooth and successful process.
For Fabric access and licensing questions for the Broadband Data Collection process please email CostQuest’s Fabric Support team at NBFsupport@costquest.com.
This communication does not reflect the opinion or the policy of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The NTIA 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.