Form 477 & Broadband Data Collection (BDC) Program Compliance Deadline Fast-Approaching; FCC Goal of Ensuring Greater Data Accuracy Brings Greater Burdens, Complexity, and Consequences for Filers
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is updating its current broadband mapping with more detailed and precise information on fixed and mobile broadband via the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) Program. BDC submissions are required by all facilities-based fixed and mobile broadband Internet access providers and due by September 1, 2022. While the new BDC Program filing is more complex than standard Form 477 reporting, we are available to assist existing and new clients with timely and efficiently meeting this deadline.
Most FCC Form 477 filers should have received information from the FCC and CostQuest about the BDC, but providers of new services should act proactively to ensure they meet both their Form 477 and BDC filing requirements to avoid penalties or other FCC enforcement actions.
Entities that Must File
Generally, providers that must file FCC Form 477 must also submit data in the BDC. Facilities-based fixed and mobile broadband Internet access providers with one or more end-user connections in service on June 30, 2022 must file.
Notably, merely enabling access to the Internet, even if the end-user gets actual Internet access (i.e., via a broadband Internet access service, or BIAS), will subject a provider to BDC filing requirements. For example, the FCC recently confirmed that Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) providers that enable a broadband connection (the ability to access the Internet at certain speeds), even if the actual Internet access is accomplished by a fixed connection from another provider, must submit BDC data.
Timeline for Filing
Initial BDC data must be filed no later than September 1, 2022 and, going forward, must be submitted twice a year on the same schedule as FCC Form 477 filings.
Preparing BDC Data Via the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric
The FCC’s Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) is a common dataset of all locations in the US and territories (i.e., Puerto Rico) where fixed Internet access can be installed (geographic coordinates of all locations, or building structures). The Fabric allows filers to work from a single, standardized location list and should be used to develop availability data. Filers that submit location lists instead of polygons must match data for locations service to Fabric Location IDs.
The FCC contracted with CostQuest to create the Fabric, which is available as of June 30, 2022. Providers should have received an email by June 30, 2022 from CostQuest with instructions for how to obtain Fabric access, including signing a license agreement.
BDC Filing Requirements Impose New and Stricter Requirements
In addition to matching location IDs from the Fabric, BDC data must be certified by an engineer and officer prior to submission. These new requirements, despite a declaratory ruling and temporary waiver that broadens who can certify data, require impacted providers to act today to prepare for their submission.
BDC location data must be based on the service address, as the FCC has always required for Form 477 submissions. However, because BDC data must match location IDs in the Fabric, this requirement is even more important and makes the use of billing data both risky and potentially incorrect, particularly given the need for an engineer and officer to certify the data.
Given the expanded requirements and ability for the FCC to audit information uniformly on a location-by-location basis, providers must put in time now to ensure their filings will be both timely and correct.
Contact Us Today to Get a Head Start on Your Company’s BDC Program Filing
Because the BDC Program filing is new, all work shall be performed outside the scope of the fixed fee services offered by The Commpliance Group (TCG). However, both our firm and TCG are available and ready to assist with BDC Program filings, offering the same affordable bespoke service our clients value. Whether you need assistance with procuring a CostQuest license, ensuring appropriate personnel have authorization, or completing and submitting the BDC Program Filing, we are ready and looking forward to assisting you!
If you have questions about the FCC’s BDC Program or obtaining a license from CostQuest for the Fabric, preparing and submitting a BDC Program filing, or anything in between, please reach out to Michael Donahue at 703-714-1319 or mpd@CommLawGroup.com or Ivan Zajicek at 703-714-1310 or isz@CommLawGroup.com
The CQA + Commpliance Group Difference
Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC, The CommLaw Group, through its affiliated consulting firm, The Commpliance Group, has partnered with CostQuest Associates (CQA) to provide the assistance your broadband company needs to comply with the Federal Communications Commission’s broadband data collection program. Together, CQA and The Commpliance Group bring location data built for broadband together with compliance and regulatory expertise. We realized that in order to best serve all of you, we needed to be as dynamic as your teams are. Proper broadband compliance requires a deep understanding of locating and mapping broadband (CQA), as well as the expertise to navigate complex regulatory requirements (The Commpliance Group).