Differences between Bulk Fixed Availability Challenge Data and Crowdsource Data

There are a few key differences between bulk fixed availability crowdsource and challenge data.  First, each challenge is sent to the challenged Internet service provider and requires a response from the provider about its service availability at the challenged location.  In addition, challenges are meant to formally dispute the availability data submitted by a provider in the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) and published on the FCC’s National Broadband MapCrowdsource data does not require a provider response and can cover information about broadband speeds in addition to broadband availability.  The FCC will use crowdsource data as a tool for verifying provider availability data.

Broadly, there are differences in (a) the content required for each type of submission and (b) how the data are treated after they are submitted.

Differences in Content:

  • Challenge Data
    • The availability of fixed broadband service at particular locations is the focus of any fixed challenge. The quality of installed internet access service cannot be the subject of a challenge.  For example, instances in which observed speed is less than the speed of the purchased service are not part of the formal challenge process.
    • Evidence to support the challenge is mandatory and must be submitted in the bulk challenge data file or uploaded as a separate attachment.
  • Crowdsource Data
    • In addition to information on service availability, information on the quality of installed broadband service can be the subject of fixed crowdsource information. Unlike a challenge, crowdsource data may be submitted in situations where the observed speed of the service does not match its advertised speed by using category code seven (7) as the category / reason for the crowdsource data in the data file.
    • Evidence to support crowdsourced information is optional (although highly encouraged).

Differences in How the Data Are Treated:

  • Challenge Data
    • Submitting a challenge initiates a formal process in which data are presented to the service provider and the provider must respond to the challenge within 60 days.
    • The FCC’s rules also provide a time frame for the challenger and the provider to attempt to resolve the challenge independently. Absent a resolution, the FCC will adjudicate the challenge.
    • Challenges must be responded to and resolved or decided within a specific time frame.
  • Crowdsource Data
    • Providers are made aware that crowdsource information about their availability or service has been submitted, but are under no obligation to respond.
    • Crowdsource information may be used by the FCC to identify instances or patterns of potentially inaccurate or incomplete data that warrant further investigation or review.

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