The FCC Broadband Funding Map is Here! What's Next for Broadband Service Providers?

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) Broadband Funding Map,, was released this month, bringing a fresh round of discussion on location, service accuracy, and a surge of energy around BEAD Funding. Broadband service providers can anticipate that NTIA will meet its planned scheduling of allocating BEAD funds to states by June 30.

To provide accurate applications once the states release their tostates'BEAD-supported funding programs, service providers need bulletproof data that helps them to find the efficient and effective path to enhance their networks – and to submit accurate and compelling proposals to the states, counties, and communities that will ultimately decide where and how to invest, and with whom to partner. Established Service Providers must understand where they have the best market opportunities and where they are most vulnerable to overbuilds. At the same time, new entrants must quickly uncover, and plan builds for their best opportunities to enter the market.

At the end of the day, those service providers with the most credible plans and proactive engagement with underserved communities will win.

Quantify and Prioritize the Opportunities and Threats

While the specific allocations are not yet released, the map provides a clear insight into the addresses identified as under- or unserved by the FCC and aggregate reporting of previous funding per location. The Broadband Funding Map provides critical foundation data for an effective plan that meets the needs of shareholders and communities.

Incumbent Service Providers must work through a host of complicated and competing factors. They will need to overlay the FCC Funding Map to their existing footprint to weigh expansion and upgrade opportunities and identify any exposure to competitive overbuild.

In addition, and perhaps most critically, they must identify any discrepancies or erroneous identification of locations within target areas that are, in fact, "served[i]" or alternatively ineligible because they have already received funding through federal programs.

This mapping exercise illuminates the need to quantify and prioritize the prospective expansion/upgrade opportunities quickly. Quite simply, each Service Provider's possible universe is larger than their resources to execute, even with the significant subsidies. Therefore, they must have a standardized analytical framework through which they can quickly and accurately quantify each market opportunity, set priorities, and ensure their resources are focused most effectively.

The decisions on where to focus will impact Service Provider profitability and market share for years to come, and yet time is of the essence. Service Providers need to ensure that the data inputs into their analytic framework incorporate insights that can make or break the business case, such as understanding the utility pole line, including an assessment of the viability, rough order of magnitude cost for "make ready" of utility poles, soil conditions to consider for trenching/plowing or boring, existing technology infrastructure, environmental risk factors, etc., for each market rather than relying on generic data.

 Know Who is Serviceable

Too often, service providers' systems do not have accurate data on the households within their market. Using existing erroneous data or with the lack of location data, Service Providers damage their competitiveness, opening the door to overbuilders when, in fact, the ability to deliver high-performance service is already within reach or very easily achievable. Accurate data and analysis now can support an effective challenge or, better still, enable proactive engagement with the community to obviate the need for a subsidized program.

Bulletproof Data & Analytics Make the Business Case

VCTI's BIO (Broadband Investment Optimization) Service helps service providers quickly and accurately quantify opportunities – and understand market forces within their footprint or within close proximity.

Armed with this data, broadband service providers can be ready to respond quickly and effectively to the various deadlines and milestones in the coming weeks and months. 


eBook 4 steps to buliding an agile and winning broadband expansion game plan

[i] FCC current classification for served is broadband speeds greater than 25/3.