The FCC’s National Broadband Map will determine both the BEAD program’s allocation of funding to states, the state challenge process, and the state distribution of funding on deployment projects. It will likely be used for other grant programs as well.
The FCC map fabric compiles extensive information about each location, including postal address, geographic coordinates, building type (i.e., business or residential), and unit count (e.g., a duplex is a single location with two units), as well as whether the location is a “broadband serviceable location.” The mapping compiling process begins with aerial imaging and incorporates diverse datasets, such as postal data and tax-assessor data.
An accurate map will help identify the unserved and underserved communities most in need of funding for high-speed internet infrastructure investment. But, the challenge options for information in the map do not, for now at least, include inaccurate speeds. Instead, challenges are allowed only based on Location and Availability.
The permitted reasons to file a Location challenge are:
- Incorrect location address
- Incorrect location unit count
- Location not within correct building footprint
- Location is not broadband serviceable
- Add additional address for the location
- Incorrect location building type
Availability challenges may be based only on one of the following reasons:
- Provider failed to schedule a service installation within 10 business days of request
- Provider did not install the service at the agreed-upon time
- Provider requested more than the standard installation fee to connect service
- Provider denied a request for service
- Provider does not offer the technology reported to be available at this location
- Provider does not offer the speed(s) reported to be available at this location
The form allows you to select “The actual speed of this service does not match its advertised speed,” but advises that this issue must be dealt with by contacting the provider. You cannot submit a challenge with that option selected as the basis for the challenge.
Despite the issue with reporting speed discrepancies, the JTAC has been advised by community advocacy groups to gather information about actual speeds received and compare it to the speeds reported as available in the FCC’s map. The Beaver Island Internet Speed Survey is designed to do support that process.
Additional information about the survey and the FCC Broadband Map can be found in this post in the BIA newsfeed: https://www.beaverislandassociation.org/2022/12/02/speedtest/.