FCC Releases New National Broadband Map – Understanding the Data Challenge Process 

On November 18, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the first draft of its new National Broadband Map, a comprehensive, location-by-location view of high-speed Internet availability across the nation. The map is a more detailed and precise reflection of the availability of fixed and mobile broadband services across the country. 

The new map can be accessed here. 

While the FCC will not implement a deadline for data challenges, NARC strongly encourages communities to make submissions by January 13, the date by which NTIA will use the FCC map to determine each state’s allocation of BEAD dollars. 

Unlike its previous census block-based maps, this updated map is built on a location-based model developed through the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection process. The map will be continuously updated with each filing period’s set of data, with the next cycle expected to span from December 31-March 1. Each filing window will then take place six months thereafter. 

The new National Broadband Map and its future iterations are expected to be instrumental in determining the flow of funds for billions of dollars for broadband deployment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). 

This includes the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program, which will provide over $42 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs in all 50 states and Washington D.C. NTIA has required states to conduct local coordination in order to receive these funds, and NARC encourages Regional Councils, Councils of Governments, Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and other regional organizations to contact and coordinate with their state broadband office to begin this process. 

Submission of Bulk Challenges

Regional Councils, COGs, and MPOs are encouraged to review and validate the availability data presented on the new National Broadband Map to determine whether to submit a challenge. If your organization or local districts determine that a challenge is needed, the FCC has provided steps to follow here. 

There is no deadline for data challenges, but submissions after January 13 will not be reflected in state allocations. 

Challenges to an individual location may include incorrect information on a particular location such as address or unit count, a location’s geographic coordinates, a location’s broadband serviceability is incorrectly identified, or a location that meets the definition of a BSL is missing from the Fabric. Consumers will be able to engage in this individual location challenge process to submit challenges for their own residences or small businesses. 

Understanding the Challenge Submission Process

Additionally, a walkthrough of the challenge process from a submitting entity’s perspective is available to watch here. Some key steps are included below.

  • Access the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric dataset following these steps. Local governments must follow the steps provided in the link which include logging into the Broadband Data Center system and executing a limited end-user license agreement for the Fabric dataset. These licensing requests may take time to be processed so expect a processing window when submitting the access request. Delivery of credentials may take up to two weeks from the time your organization information is submitted. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the FCC’s definition of a “broadband serviceable location,” which will not necessarily include all structures at a particular location or parcel. More information can be found in the Bulk Fabric Challenge Specs Public Notice. 
  • Develop a strategy for requiring and validating the Fabric data in your geographic area. 
  • Align your data with the specifications set forth in the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data document. Some of these specifications include, among other things, requirements to identify the name and contact information of the submitting entity, the Fabric location subject to challenge, the category of the challenge for each location, and evidence supporting the challenge. Further specifications require the challenge data file to include records for each location in a Comma Separated Value (CSV) format, all fields must be included in the file upload, and all values must conform to the descriptions, codes, or formats identified for each field in the Data Specifications document.  
  • Certify that the information you are submitting is true and correct (to the best of your actual knowledge, information, and belief) for each location that is part of the bulk challenge. 
  • Submit your challenge! 

Additional Resources

NARC will continue to monitor FCC updates and additional information will be provided soon. 

It’s NARC Membership Week – Thanks for Being a NARC Member!

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) annual Membership Week will begin November 14 through November 18.  

This week will be all about you, our members, because without your support and leadership, NARC would not be able to do the work we do: bringing regional councils across the country together and advocating for regional solutions in Washington.

We will be highlighting some of the key benefits that come along with being a part of our organization. We want to make sure you are utilizing all the advantages that come along with being a NARC member.

Please stay tuned for updates as we get closer to Membership Week. 

On behalf of the entire NARC staff, Happy Membership Week! We look forward to celebrating with you and hope to see many of your at our upcoming National Conference of Regions the week of January 22nd. 

It’s NARC Membership Week – Thanks for Being a NARC Member!

The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) annual Membership Week begins this week!

This week is all about you, our members, because without your support and leadership, NARC would not be able to do the work we do: bringing regional councils across the country together and advocating for regional solutions in Washington.

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to pose unprecedented challenges across the country, we are impressed by all the ways you have stepped up to move your regions forward. We at NARC remain dedicated to providing you the support and tools you need to help your organization thrive.

Over the next couple weeks, a NARC staff member will be reaching out to each member by phone to personally thank you for your ongoing support. I encourage you to let them know what you think we are doing well and what we could be doing better to serve you.

This week we will also be highlighting some of the key benefits that come along with being a part of our organization. We want to make sure you are utilizing all the advantages that come along with being a NARC member.

Check out the video below for a quick Membership Week kickoff message from NARC Executive Director Leslie Wollack. And keep an eye out this week for more videos from NARC leadership and staff, highlighting the benefits that NARC provides to its members and offering some ways that you can get more engaged with NARC.

On behalf of the entire NARC staff, Happy Membership Week! We look forward to talking with you and hope to see many of you at our upcoming Virtual Executive Directors Conference the week of October 5th. 

This Month in Photos: July – August 2019

This Month in Photos: July – August 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!  June – July 2019 (PDF)

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.

This Month in Photos: June – July 2019

This Month in Photos: June – July 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!  June – July 2019 (PDF)

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.

This Month in Photos: February 2019

This Month in Photos: February 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!  February 2019 (PDF)

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.

National Conference of Regions: In Photos

National Conference of Regions: In Photos

Welcome to a special edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!   2019 National Conference of Regions: In Photos (PDF) 

All of the photos in this edition are from NARC’s February National Conference of Regions. Inside you’ll find photos of the NARC members, conference speakers, and members of Congress and the Administration who made this year’s Conference of Regions memorable.

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. This month we’re publishing two editions 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.

This Month in Photos: January 2019

This Month in Photos: January 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of Regional Councils: This Month in Photos!   January 2019 – February 2019 (PDF)

Each month, NARC publishes Regional Councils: This Month in Photos to highlight events and activities taking place in regions around the nation. 

We feature regional council meetings, board retreats, meetings with state or federal elected officials, the opening of new facilities, special programs, awards, and anything else you view as important or fun to share with your colleagues.

If you would like your region included in Regional Councils: This Month in Photos, please send your photos and a brief description to Neil Bomberg at neil@narc.org.