21 Jun Accurate Broadband Maps are in Demand: The FCC, BDC, and More
There has been an increased demand for accurate broadband data to pinpoint service availability and areas of improvement. Government entities and telecommunications service providers alike are seeking a one-stop solution for their broadband information needs. Broadband maps can provide these organizations with the ability to properly evaluate the telecom infrastructure and define funds for areas of improvement.
The FCC and BDC
The Federal Communications Commission or the FCC has been utilizing the established Fixed Broadband Deployment map for over a decade. In a recent push for accurate information, due partly to recently passed legislation, the FCC has asked for accurate reporting of real-time broadband infrastructure. This new report has been coined the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program and will provide users from a state level to local level to tribal level the ability to accurately understand the availability of communications.
5 Steps to BDC
There are 5 steps to the FCC’s new BDC program.
Step 1 – The broadband collections regulations must be established, contracting for the collection must begin, and data architect contracts must be awarded for the building of the digital map.
Step 2 – The digital map’s IT system must be developed, interstate government entities need to be coordinated, and studies must begin on the accuracy and difficulty of the project.
Step 3 – The BDC system must be developed and tested, the system’s process must be established, and APIs along with other technologies must be deployed to crowdsource data.
Step 4 – The BDC IT system will be launched nationwide, and assistance will be made available to small providers and associated entities.
Step 5 – The final step of the BDC program is verifying and truthing all collected information and integrating the final process to continue crowdsourcing data collection methods.
Funding Broken Down
The newly supported need to improve local fiber infrastructure has been made possible due to recent funding. Almost a year ago the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal was approved allotting “$65 billion to improve the telecommunications infrastructure.”
Out of the allotted funding, $42.45 billion has been directed towards the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program to directly impact underserved communities and bridge the digital divide. This allotment provides for $100 million to each state to support the BDC program or the FCC’s updated mapping platform.
Other funding allocates “2.75 billion for a Digital Equity program; $2 billion for a Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program; $2 billion for the Rural Utilities Service Distance Learning, Telemedicine and Broadband Program; and $1 billion for a new Middle Mile grant program designed to fuel the “construction, improvement or acquisition” of middle-mile infrastructure by eligible entities.”
Other grant programs are assisting eligible organizations with funding such as Connect America Fund (CAF), Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), and many more. For more information on current and proposed funding projects available, users can review updated lists here.
Abiding by the FCC guidelines and applying for state grants to develop or access broadband maps does not have to be complicated. Contact the experts at GeoTel to assist and for accessing accurate information.
Written By: Valerie Stephen