Overview of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection Resources
The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) launched its Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) program on June 30, 2022. As we have previously discussed in the first and second blog posts of our BDC series, all facilities-based providers of fixed and mobile broadband Internet access that have one or more end user connections in service are required to file broadband availability data in the BDC system by September 1, 2022. In this post, we highlight resources available to filers navigating the BDC system.
As previously discussed, the purpose of the BDC is to enable the FCC, acting through its contractor (CostQuest Associates), to develop a comprehensive database of serviceable broadband locations where fixed broadband Internet access service has been or could be installed – the “Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric” (“Fabric”). Accordingly, in order to make the Fabric as comprehensive as possible, all facilities-based fixed service providers are required to report broadband Internet access service coverage and identify where such services are offered to residential and business locations. The rules establish speed and latency reporting requirements for fixed service providers and require terrestrial fixed wireless services providers to report the coordinates of their base stations. Mobile service providers are required to provide even more information. Given the breadth of data required to be filed under this new program, the FCC has rolled out a number of on-line resources to assist filers.
In addition to Keller and Heckman’s explanation on The Who, What, When, and Where of the FCC’s New Broadband Data Collection, filers may utilize the FCC’s Information for Filers webpage to gather general information regarding entities that are required to file data and what is expected of them. All data collected must be up to date as of June 30, 2022, and should be submitted by September 1, 2022. The BDC is a biannual data collection, so filers should also be prepared to file data as of December 31, 2022, by March 1, 2023.
For a comprehensive understanding of the BDC system, filers should access the BDC Help Center. This resource is a one-stop-shop for all information relating to the program. Among other resources, the BDC Help Center has a link to the BDC Filer User Guide. The Filer User Guide provides step-by-step instructions on using the BDC system and making filings.
The Help Center also has a link to the BDC Availability Data Specifications. The Availability Data Specifications provide detailed information on the format of data submissions. Filers should review these specifications in order to understand how certain data files should be uploaded to the system and the requirements for entering data appropriately. Filers should reference the Availability Data Specifications while completing their data submission to ensure that all data is filed according to FCC requirements.
The BDC Help Center also has instructional video tutorials and webinars. It is recommended that filers view these videos before beginning the filing process in order to familiarize themselves with the BDC system.
 It is important for broadband Internet access service filers of Form 477 to remember that they must also continue to file BDC data until the FCC terminates Form 477. Telecommunications service and interconnected voice over Internet protocol providers that do not offer broadband service are only required to file Form 477 and do not currently need to participate in the BDC program. For those interested in learning more about filing Form 477, the Commission also provides Form 477 Resources.
 The BDC Help Center also provides ongoing system updates, public notices, and other news relating to the BDC, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about using the BDC system, and understanding the Location Fabric.
Liam Fulling also contributed to this article.