The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or “Commission”) recently released a new mobile coverage map. This map shows, based on data from the nation’s four largest carriers, where a user can expect to receive 4G LTE service. With the release of this map, the Broadband Data Act requires the Commission to create a new challenge process to collect contradictory data from other stakeholders. This directive is specifically aimed at correcting inaccuracies in the FCC’s broadband data. 

In July 2021, the Commission released a request for comment on the technical requirements for the mobile challenge process.Next Century Cities submitted reply comments urging the Commission to develop a robust and user-friendly challenge process. Many of the stakeholders that the Commission is now asking to submit information have never participated in a broadband data challenge process before. In order to make the process as accessible as possible, new standards and thresholds must be able to be met by residents, local leaders, and others with limited resources. 

NCC also emphasized the need for collecting and assessing other mobile performance metrics such as throughput speed, signal strength, and service price. Including these data sets provides insights into the quality of service that consumers receive,  particularly in areas where service technically exists but falls short of what consumers need.

An accessible challenge process that collects meaningful data sets is key to determining exactly where mobile broadband service is and is not available. Additionally, in order to produce more accurate and granular maps, the Commission must reach out to state and local governments to invite collaboration.

Read NCC’s submitted September 13th filing here.