The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) intends to release a “pre-production draft” of its new broadband maps on Nov. 18. This upcoming version is the first release of the map required the Broadband DATA Act.

The FCC said release of the draft map will begin “an ongoing, iterative process that will improve the data submitted by providers by incorporating challenges from individuals and other stakeholders.” The map is based on data submitted by providers during the initial Broadband Data Collection filing window, and will reflect services available as of June 30, 2022.

Once published, the draft maps will display location level information on broadband availability throughout the country. The FCC said the maps will also allow people to search for their address, and review and dispute the services reported by providers at their location.

During the drafting process, the FCC will accept bulk challenges to the reported availability data from state and Tribal governments and other entities. As a result of the challenges, the FCC said the map will continually improve and refine the broadband availability data relied upon by the FCC, other government agencies, and the public.

“The pre-production draft map release is an important first step forward in building more accurate, more granular broadband maps, which are long overdue and mandated by Congress,” the FCC said in a press release. “Historically, the FCC’s maps have been based on broadband availability data collected at just the census block level rather than the location level, which kept unserved locations hidden if they were in partially served census blocks.”

Further explaining how the map was created, the FCC noted that providers’ availability data has been matched to the location information contained in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric. The Fabric is a common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband internet access service is or can be installed.

To improve accuracy of the maps, the FCC began accepting challenges to Fabric information from providers, states, local, and Tribal governments starting in September. After Nov. 18, individuals will also be able to submit challenges, or request corrections, to Fabric locations directly through the map interface. Individuals will also be able to request missing locations be added. The FCC said that information from those challenges will be incorporated in future versions of the Fabric.

Ahead of the draft map’s publication, New York state already announced a challenge to map data. The state said it has submitted more than 31,000 unserved or underserved addresses from across the state under the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection challenge process.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs