FCC Adopts Rules for More Precise Broadband Availability Map Data Collection

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission adopted new rules for the improved collection and mapping of broadband availability data through the Digital Opportunity Data Collection that will better identify connectivity gaps across the country and help advance the Commission’s ongoing efforts to close the digital divide. The Commission is also seeking comment on proposals to ensure the accuracy of the new broadband coverage maps by creating multiple paths for consumers, along with state, local and Tribal governments and other entities, to provide feedback on the maps directly to the Commission.

The Report and Order builds on the Commission’s approach to broadband mapping adopted in August 2019, which Congress largely endorsed when it enacted the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act. The Order implements key provisions of the Broadband DATA Act, including requiring fixed and mobile providers to submit standardized broadband availability maps and taking steps to develop a common dataset of homes and businesses where fixed broadband networks could be deployed, over which service providers’ broadband availability maps will be overlaid. 

In the Further Notice, the Commission seeks comment on proposals for processes for consumers, governmental entities, and other parties to challenge the availability data represented in the broadband maps and additional processes for verifying broadband availability data submitted by providers.  The Further Notice also invites comment on targeted reforms to the FCC Form 477 subscribership data that broadband and voice providers are required to file biannually, and implementing other requirements of the Broadband DATA Act.

Action by the Commission July 16, 2020 by Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FCC 20-94).  Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly and Carr approving.  Commissioner Rosenworcel approving in part and dissenting in part.  Commissioner Starks concurring.  Chairman Pai, Commissioners O’Rielly, Carr, Rosenworcel, and Starks issuing separate statements.

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