Tag: "challenge"

Posted January 17, 2023 by Christopher Mitchell

Last Friday was a major milestone in the process of moving $42.5 billion from the federal government to states to distribute mostly to rural areas to build new, modern Internet access networks. January 13th marked the deadline for error corrections (called challenges) to the official national map that will be used to determine how much each state will get. 

As an organization that has worked in nearly all 50 states over the past 20 years on policies to improve Internet access, we spent the last few weeks struggling to understand what was actually at stake and wondering if we were alone in being confused about the process. Despite the stakes, almost no expert we talked to actually understood which challenges – if any – would fix errors in the map data before it was used to allocate the largest single federal broadband investment in history. 

Update: On January 13th, Joan Engebretson confirmed in Telecompetitor that the location challenges deadline was October 30, 2022, and not Jan 13, 2023.

This article will explore what is going wrong with the distribution of that $42.5 billion, the mapping process, and continued failure of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to show competence in the broadband arena. And it offers ways to fix these important problems as every jurisdiction from Puerto Rico to Hawaii feels overwhelmed by the challenge. 

The $42.5 billion guarantees each state $100 million and a large additional sum calculated proportionally based on the number of locations in each state that don’t have adequate high-speed Internet service. States that already made significant investments in better rural networks and made strides toward fast universal Internet access for all households - like Massachusetts - will likely not receive much more than $100 million, while extremely large states with many high-cost rural residents - like Texas and California - will receive billions. 

NTIA is tasked with administering and distributing the funds and must use FCC data to determine...

Read more
Posted January 4, 2023 by Ry Marcattilio

It's a new year, which means there's plenty to talk about in the broadband space. Join us live on Friday, January 6th, at 2:00pm ET for the latest episode of the Connect This! Show. Co-hosts Christopher Mitchell (ILSR) and Travis Carter (USI Fiber) will be joined by regular guests Kim McKinley (UTOPIA Fiber) and Doug Dawson (CCG Consulting) to talk about the recent renomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC, why location challenges won't matter for state BEAD allocations (and why that's a big deal), and what the planning funds will do for states preparing for infrastructure money. Later, Dane Jasper (Sonic) joins the show to talk about the recent announcement by AT&T and BlackRock private equity of a joint venture to help the monopoly provider enter markets outside of states where it has traditionally operated. Finally, Roger Timmerman (UTOPIA Fiber) joins live from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to share the trends making household bandwidth demands continue to rise.

Email us at broadband@muninetworks.org with feedback and ideas for the show.

Subscribe to the show using this feed or find it on the Connect This! page, and watch on LinkedIn, on YouTube Live, on Facebook live, or below.

Posted December 8, 2022 by Christine Parker

In November, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) unveiled its new Broadband Availability Map. Along with a new map style, the FCC also introduced a challenge process that allows everyone – from governments to citizens – the ability to highlight false claims of availability and ensure that every home and business location is accounted for in the map.

With good reason, many are confused about the information shown in the map, the challenge process, and why we should care about helping the FCC make corrections. 

While we too are frustrated about the cost and subsequent quality of this map, we believe it is important to contribute to improving this map to enable an equitable allocation of the $42 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program funds to states next year.

Step-By-Step Guide

In an effort to provide a better understanding of the map itself, and the challenge process, we created a short series of instructional videos and a click-through guide. Through the videos we provide:

  • An overview of the map itself, important features to be aware of, and how to navigate the map interface.
  • Walk-through of both the location and availability challenge process (The deadline for submitting availability challenges is Jan. 13, 2023).

The challenge guide is in pdf format and was designed to allow users to click links to navigate to the resources they need. Similar to information shared in the videos (below), this resource includes instructions for both the location and availability challenges, as well as more detailed information about valid reasons for submitting those challenges.

We also include a timeline of the availability challenge process, and links to FCC resources for those interested in submitting a bulk challenge. You can find the challenge guide...

Read more
Subscribe to challenge