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POLICY BRIEF: Aligning the FCC's Digital Opportunity Data Collection with the Broadband DATA Act

In July, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) voted to adopt a Second Report and Order and Third Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that sets in motion the rollout of Form 477 modernization and paves the way for better broadband mapping and data from the Commission.

As reported in a previous Connected Nation Policy Brief, in 2019 the Commission approved a first Report and Order and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the topic of broadband data collection and mapping. The Report and Order established the “Digital Opportunity Data Collection,” distinct from the current data collection process called Form 477, which sought to gather geospatial broadband service availability data to advance the goal of universal service. In the Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FCC asked stakeholders to respond to a variety of questions on the new Digital Opportunity Data Collection in order to enhance the “accuracy and usefulness of broadband deployment reporting.”

Then, on March 10, 2020, Congress passed the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which set the stage for this sweeping reform on how broadband data is collected, verified, and mapped by the FCC. This legislation, according to the FCC, “largely ratif[ied] the Digital Opportunity Data Collection’s approach to broadband mapping,” thus setting the stage for next steps on the FCC’s work towards better broadband maps. As part of the Broadband DATA Act, the FCC is required to issue final rules for collecting granular data from providers on the availability and quality of broadband, to create publicly available coverage maps, to establish processes for members of the public and other entities to challenge and verify the coverage maps, and to create a common dataset of all locations where fixed broadband internet access service can be installed.

To read the full Connected Nation Policy Brief click this link or click the image to the right.