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Broadband Mapping & Data

Broadband Mapping Masterclass on September 27, 2022

Learn how your ISP and community can avoid the broadband mapping trainwreck.

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You can navigate the treacherous waters around broadband mapping by participating in this 2-hour Masterclass for only $99.

Enroll TODAY in this LIVE Masterclass on Tuesday, September 27, at 12 Noon ET

You’ll get to the bottom of the broadband mapping mess – and understand your ISP and community’s options – by participating in this Masterclass

Billions of broadband infrastructure funding have put broadband mapping back on the front-burner. You know that the federal government is about to award $42.5 billion in funds for broadband infrastructures. You also know that the Federal Communications Commission’s new broadband maps will determine how much funding each state gets. 

But what if the broadband data underlying the maps is a complete mess?

  • As broadband providers, you already submit data to the FCC through the Form 477. Now, you have additional broadband reporting requirements.
  • But will your competitors’ data be accurate? How will you challenge their claims?
  • As a community broadband participant, you’ve probably been upset by repeated inadequacies in the FCC’s Form 477 data.
  • How will you assess what providers are claiming? How will you challenge their data?

The broadband mapping miasma has so many moving parts, it takes a Masterclass just to keep up…. Now you have that opportunity.

Introducing the Broadband Mapping Masterclass, presented by Drew Clark, CEO of Broadband Breakfast

Drew Clark isn’t just anyone talking about Broadband Mapping. He launched the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that ultimately forced broadband providers to identify where they offer broadband service. He then founded the first crowdsourced tool in this field, BroadbandCensus.com, which led him to be recruited to run the State of Illinois’s Broadband Mapping program. He is now CEO of Broadband Breakfast.

In this Masterclass, you can expect these learning outcomes:

  • Understanding the FCC’s Broadband Fabric and Challenge Process

In this section of the Masterclass, you’ll learn what the FCC has done in the past, and what it’s doing now with its Broadband Data Collection. You’ll learn about the agency’s new broadband “fabric.” You’ll learn about challenges to the fabric. You’ll learn how ISPs must submit new data and how communities’ and ISP’s challenges to that data will work.

  • Alternatives Your ISP or Community Has to Fix Bad or Missing Data

In this section of the Masterclass, you’ll learn about other options for obtaining and verifying broadband data. You’ll see concrete examples of broadband data collection by government agencies, private GIS companies, and non-profit groups. You’ll learn your options for obtaining and using better broadband data.

  • What State Broadband Authorities Can Do to Help You

In this section of the Masterclass, you’ll learn about how state broadband offices are addressing the train-wreck in Washington. You’ll see concrete examples of state maps, understand how states are gearing up to challenge the FCC’s map, and get hands-on advice for how your ISP or community can benefit from the work of state broadband offices.

Do you need to get a handle on broadband mapping? Or would you rather keep your head in the sand? 

SECURE YOUR PLACE by enrolling today to fix your community and ISP problems with broadband data

By participating in the Broadband Mapping Masterclass, you’ll get the key insights and understand the tangible actions that your ISP, consultants, and community can take to emerge successfully through the broadband infrastructure funding.

Are you ready to achieve this?

Enroll today for $99

  • One-time payment
  • Guaranteed place
  • Full on-demand access to Masterclass recording
  • Lifetime access to downloadable resources, including Broadband Breakfast’s research report on broadband mapping

Read more about the 5 reasons to attend the Broadband Mapping Masterclass

ENROLL TODAY

Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Broadband Mapping Masterclass Different from Broadband Breakfast Live Online?

Broadband Breakfast offers FREE webcasts every Wednesday at 12 Noon ET. The Masterclass does not replace this free programming. 

How much does the Broadband Mapping Masterclass cost?

The Broadband Mapping Masterclass by Drew Clark is available for only $99.

Will the Broadband Mapping Masterclass be live? 

Yes, the Broadband Mapping Masterclass will take place LIVE on Tuesday, September 27, at 12 Noon ET.

Will a replay of the Masterclass be available?

A replay of the 2-hour recording will be available only to attendees.

Where do I watch the Broadband Mapping Masterclass?

The Broadband Mapping Masterclass will be available as a Zoom webinar.

How to I purchase the Broadband Mapping Masterclass?

ENROLL TODAY for our Zoom Webinar through PayPal.

How many times may I be able to watch the replay?

Attendees will enjoy unlimited, lifetime access to the Broadband Mapping Masterclass recording. 

Will there be any resources associated much does the Masterclass cost?

Attendees will receive a Broadband Breakfast Research Report on Broadband Mapping. This premium downloadable resource will be available only attendees. 

Why is everyone focused on broadband maps right now?

With the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s $65 billion broadband infrastructure program at stake, the Federal Communications Commission is gearing up to revise its much-flawed broadband maps.

Who needs to attend this webinar?

Internet Service Providers, consultants, and communities should all attend this webinar.

Why should I pay $99 for this Masterclass when there is so much information available on this topic for free?

This session is available for only $99. You’ll be guided on this journey by one of the most knowledgeable people on broadband mapping in the country. And you’ll get a better sense of the problems, pitfalls and opportunities for broadband providers and broadband communities.

What credentials does Drew Clark have to talk about broadband mapping?

Drew Clark is the original advocate for public and open broadband data. An early advocate of better broadband, better lives, Drew founded the Broadband Census crowdsourcing campaign for better broadband data in 2008. That effort became the Broadband Breakfast media community. As Editor and Publisher, Clark presides over news coverage focused on digital infrastructure investment, broadband’s impact, and Big Tech. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Clark served as head of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, a state broadband initiative. Now, in light of the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, attorney Clark helps fiber-based and wireless clients secure funding, identify markets, broker infrastructure and operate in the public right of way.

Will there still be a program on broadband mapping on Broadband Breakfast Live Online?

Yes, this Masterclass is in addition to Broadband Breakfast Live Online’s free weekly programs every WEDNESDAY at 12 Noon ET.

When does the Broadband Mapping Masterclass happen?

This Masterclass runs on TUESDAY, September 27, from 12 Noon ET-2 p.m. ET. Subsequent replay is available. ENROLL TODAY.

Broadband Mapping & Data

State Broadband Maps Show Significantly Fewer Served Locations than Does FCC’s Map

There is a ‘massive difference’ between federal Form 477 data and state maps in Georgia and North Carolina

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Screenshot of Eric McRae of the Carl Vinson Institute at the University of Georgia, at a Broadband Breakfast Live Online event earlier this year

WASHINGTON, September 30, 2022 – State broadband maps from North Carolina and Georgia show significantly fewer served locations than do the Federal Communications Commission’s existing data, said a panel at a Fiber Broadband Association web event Wednesday.

For us there is “a massive difference” between Form 477 data and Georgia’s data, said Eric McRae associate director of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia. McRae said the number of Georgians the FCC identifies as unserved is “miniscule,” while the state’s estimate is between 1 and 1.2 million unserved.

North Carolina also found the federal data lacking: “There are thousands of people that are technically in FCC considered served blocks that typed in their address and said they had no access or came in with 1 megabit or horrible speeds,” said Ray Zeisz, senior director of the Technology Infrastructure Lab at North Carolina State University’s Friday Institute. “We verified, certainly, that the data was overstated.”

With the two state-mapping leaders, J. Randolph Luening, founder and CEO of Signals Analytics, presented the findings of his recent report, which compares data from Georgia and North Carolina’s maps to the FCC’s Form 477 data.

Luening’s report outlines the contrasting methods employed by North Carolina and Georgia. North Carolina collected – and published – the results of 109,000 speed tests, measuring download and upload speeds, latency, and jitter. The Tar Heel State also gathered information on technology type, service provider, and other relevant factors.

Georgia’s process is more like the FCC’s current map-making process: It created a fabric dataset and solicited coverage data from providers on an iterative basis. The Peach State published its data in block-by-block form.

Unlike the maps generated from Form 477 data, Georgia’s maps show the percentage of served locations in each census block. “We’ve been able to get a very accurate count of the number of unserved locations that we have in the state of Georgia,” McRae said.

Imprecisions and inaccuracies in Form 477 data were largely responsible for the inception of the FCC’s current location-by-location mapping project. The Commission is still constructing this map and will accept challenges to the accuracy of its fabric dataset on a rolling basis. The map will be used to apportion among the states $42.45 billion from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program.

McRae and Zeisz agreed a state must launch its own mapping initiative to check the accuracy of federal maps and ensure receipt of its fair share of BEAD funding.

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Broadband Mapping & Data

FCC Broadband Data Task Force Emphasizes Need for Precision in Mapping Challenges

Officials on the panel said there was significant confusion among challengers regarding categories of challenges.

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FCC photo of Sean Spivey, senior counsel and chief of staff for the FCC's Broadband Data Task Force and host of Wednesday's webinar

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2022 – Challenges that do not strictly adhere to the Federal Communications Commission’s fabric-challenge guidelines will be thrown out, FCC broadband mapping officials warned in a webinar Wednesday.

The FCC’s fabric, a dataset of buildings that are or could be reached by fixed broadband service, will be the basis for the agency’s new national broadband map and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s division among the states of $42.45 billion from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program.

Although the fabric’s data is not publicly available due to licensing agreements with contractor CostQuest, the FCC released a preliminary version to state governments, service providers, and other stakeholders. Those individuals may challenge the data contained in the fabric. The FCC and other experts have said the challenge process is indispensable to the accuracy of the agency’s forthcoming broadband map.

The panel of individuals on the webinar from the FCC’s Broadband Data Task Force  identified seven challenge categories. The panel included Senior Counsel Sean Spivey, Senior Implementation Officer Chelsea Fallon, and officials John Emmett and Steven Rosenberg.

Each of the seven challenge pertains to a specific type of data correction. These include adding a serviceable location to the fabric, correcting an incorrect or missing address, or moving the marked serviceable location to another structure on the same parcel of land.

Officials on the panel said there is significant confusion among challengers regarding these categories. The panel highlighted a case in which the challenger mistakenly tried to add a new serviceable location instead of altering a listed address.

The panel also discouraged challengers from adding multiple serviceable locations to a single building. An apartment complex, for instance, is a single location, but can be marked as containing several sub-units. Even a building with multiple owners or addresses – like some duplexes – is considered a single serviceable location. Challenges to change the number of units or addresses associated with a location should not be confused with a challenge to add a location, the panel said.

To successfully add a serviceable location, a challenger must accurately mark the appropriate building to which it corresponds. Many challengers, however, marked proposed locations far from any building, often in the middle of a street.

The panel recommended the use of third-party software by challengers to ensure that their challenges are completed properly.

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Broadband Mapping & Data

Kirsten Compitello: The Need for a Digital Equity Focus on Broadband Mapping

Incorporating equitable processes and outcomes from the start is crucial to avoid perpetuating continued inequalities.

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The author of this Expert Opinion is Kirsten Compitello, National Broadband Digital Equity Director at Michael Baker International

Broadband for all is in the spotlight right now, and closing the digital divide is recognized as a national priority. The divide goes far beyond access and touches issues of costs, ownership, culture, awareness, skills, and more. As we enter into a period of major statewide planning and deployment efforts, incorporating equitable processes and outcomes from the start is crucial to avoid perpetuating continued inequalities in access, adoption, and literacy.

Digital equity is not just a value statement: it’s a commitment to inclusive and equitable decision making at every stage of broadband deployment, from planning to service delivery.

Ensuring equitable representation at the table

Embedding digital equity analysis into mapping is especially critical at this moment in time as we prepare for historic broadband funding. This funding is an opportunity to rebalance systemic patterns of exclusion and ensure rapidly deployed planning and implementation funds are fairly dispersed.

The Digital Equity Act provides $2.75 billion to establish three grant programs that promote digital equity and inclusion, including the State Digital Equity Planning Grant Program, a $60 million grant program for states and territories to develop digital equity plans. In creating these Statewide Digital Equity Plans, extensive outreach to and collaboration with underserved, unserved and historically marginalized populations will prove critical. These discussions will be much more informative and effective in guiding successful policies, programs and projects if they are rooted in clear understanding of social, economic and environmental patterns alongside broadband access maps.

Documenting the effects of digital exclusion

Access is not an equal term: reducing it simply to speed of service available neglects the social and economic complexities that determine how and where users are affected by a lack of broadband. In short, mapping where the infrastructure exists only tells part of the story. Data analysis needs to layer in demographic and economic information in order to reveal patterns of exclusion and identify root causes.

To better understand community impacts, our team at Michael Baker developed data visualization tools such as a Digital Equity Atlas which takes the next step toward analyzing how broadband gaps disproportionately impact segments of the population. The methodology looks at Title VI and Environmental Justice data to reveal where poor connectivity correlates to social factors including low income, senior populations, English as a Second Language, households without a vehicle and more. As an example, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission leveraged the Digital Equity Atlas to prioritize new broadband expansion projects that stand to benefit the greatest number of at-risk or marginalized households. These households should not be last in line to see broadband investment finally bringing greater connectivity and opportunities to their doorsteps.

Fulfilling Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program requirements

Federal reporting requirements for upcoming Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs Act funding call for a proven and documented understanding and analysis of digital equity needs, from planning to projects in the ground.

The IIJA’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program provides $42.45 billion to expand broadband access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment and adoption programs across the country. Statewide Five-Year Action Plans, funded through this program, will require government agencies and their partners to take an integrated digital equity approach.

From planning through the ensuing reporting requirements, establishing digital equity strategies and a clear rubric for measuring success in achieving digital equity goals is a must for agencies. These entities must demonstrate how projects funded through BEAD improve digital equity. A strong data-driven baseline – such as the Digital Equity Atlas – will be a necessary starting point for agencies to track and monitor the effect of each new deployment on surrounding households. These data-driven metrics will also be a win for state and local governments to tell the story of their successes with clear data to back it up.

Setting a goal for sustainable inclusivity

As the consumption of internet content continues to rise and as broadband for all projects bring connectivity to the unserved, baseline expectations for broadband service and speed will only continue to grow. If we aren’t careful, new categories of have-nots will emerge: for example, those who pay high fees for minimum speeds versus those with lower fees for premier plans and Gig speeds. The currently unserved will gain access to service, but many will continue to struggle with basic internet skills, navigating through complex terms of service, or even simply finding time to schedule installation without missing a day of work.

To create a truly equitable society, everyone – no matter age, ability, location or status – needs access to affordable and reliable broadband; internet-connected devices; education on digital technology and best use practices; tech support and online resources that help users participate, collaborate and work independently.

By grounding our planning in equitable practices from the very first step, we can help to ensure that everyone is able to benefit from Internet for All.

Kirsten Compitello, AICP, is the National Broadband Digital Equity Director at Michael Baker International. This piece is exclusive to Broadband Breakfast.

Broadband Breakfast accepts commentary from informed observers of the broadband scene. Please send pieces to commentary@breakfast.media. The views expressed in Expert Opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Broadband Breakfast and Breakfast Media LLC.

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