FCC Broadband Data Map Rules Go Into Effect Sept. 17

Comment dates set for verification and challenges

The FCC’s rules for establishing a new broadband data collection regime go into effect Sept. 17.

The comment dates have also been set for proposals on how the FCC can provide consumers, governmental entities and others teh ability to verify and/or challenge the new maps.

The latter are Sept. 8 for comments and Sept. 17 for replies.

That came after both the rules report and order and verification Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking were published in the Federal Register, which triggers the dates.

The FCC July 16 approved the broad strokes of its new Digital Opportunity Data Collection broadband data collection regime, which is intended to collect precise and granular data on broadband availability.

The FCC has been under pressure to get better data on where broadband is and isn’t given that it hands out billions of dollars in broadband deployment subsidies based on that information and given that universal broadband is even more important during a pandemic when much of commerce and life is online.

Pai has said that the digital divide can’t be closed until the FCC can get that better data and that better maps will also be needed to give the public confidence that the divide is being closed.

Related: House Republicans Push for Broadband Mapping Bucks

The FCC at its July 16 public meeting voted both to approve the report and order and the Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on additional steps for verifying those maps and helping service providers provide better data. It also seeks comment on a process for allowing consumers to challenge the maps how and on how the FCC should fully implement the Broadband Data Act, which was Congress’ directive to do better data collection.