Entities that are not broadband service providers or governments can now access the FCC’s Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric) under a new license agreement established by the FCC and its Fabric contractor, CostQuest. Governmental entities and broadband service providers can obtain access to the Fabric data for their jurisdictions or service areas under a different license agreement.
Why Do I Need a Fabric License?
The FCC’s National Broadband Map allows users to download data reported by providers on the broadband serviceable locations (or BSLs) they serve and the type of service offered at each BSL. These downloadable data are available by Location ID, which is the unique identifier for each BSL on the map and in the Fabric. To obtain more information about the location beyond its Location ID, such its address, geographic coordinates, and building type, users will need to obtain access to the Fabric. Having access to the Fabric will help entities seeking to file bulk Fabric and bulk fixed availability challenges, or bulk fixed crowdsource data, conform the locations in their data to the locations in the Fabric.
There are two Tier 4 Fabric License Agreements, the Standard Agreement and the Research License. The Tier 4 Standard Agreement supports the filing of BDC challenges by entities not covered under another Tier Agreement (i.e. entities other than governments, tribes, ISPs, etc.). The Standard Agreement can only be used for the purpose of generating challenge and crowdsource data as part of the Broadband Data Collection. The Tier 4 Research License additionally supports non-commercial academic or public-policy research directly related to broadband availability.
Steps to Access the Fabric:
To access the Fabric data, each entity must follow the steps below, which include registering at the FCC, logging into the BDC system, and executing a limited end-user license agreement for the Fabric. License requests will be processed as quickly as possible, but how quickly depends on the number of pending requests. Due to this, delivery of the data may take up to two weeks from the time your entity information is submitted.
- If you do not already have one, obtain an FCC username and password, and an FCC Registration Number (FRN)for your entity, in CORES (Commission Registration System). When creating your FRN, you must select the Entity Type that matches your company or organization; do not select “Individual.”
- Log into the BDC system at http://bdc.fcc.gov using your CORES username and password.
- After logging in, you should see FRNs associated with your username. Click on the FRN for the entity seeking access to the Fabric dataset.
That will take you to the Entity Information page in the BDC system, where you must enter the required information.
- Be sure to select only the "Bulk Crowdsourced / Challenge Data" option and not the option to submit broadband availability data.
- FCC staff will review the information and provide your contact information to CostQuest.
- Within 5 business days, CostQuest will email the Certifying Official identified in step 4 further instructions and a link to CostQuest’shelp desk website where you can create a user account.
Create a user account – email and password – within CostQuest’s help desk system.
- Note: This is a unique account and is not tied to any other existing FCC accounts.
In the CostQuest help desk system, submit a Tier 4 Submission form, available under the “Request Your Data” section, “Tier 4 Licensing Process” link of the help desk. To complete the request, you’ll need the following information:
- Address of the entity’s principal office;
- Name, email address, and title of the person who will sign the license;
- Name, email address, and phone number of an administrator who can add other recipients or counties covered by the license;
- Contact information for data recipients receiving access to the data file;
- The geographic area for which you require Fabric data; and
Summary information on how the requested Fabric data may be used for BDC or research purposes.
- If you are requesting the Tier 4 Research license, please indicate yes, when asked “Do you intend to use this data for research purposes?”.
- After the Tier 4 Submission form is submitted, the requestor will receive a confirmation email.
- CostQuest will validate the request as quickly as possible and, absent any exceptions or errors, will prepare the license and email a validation notification to the licensee with links to access the electronic license agreement. If there are errors or incomplete information on the Tier 4 Submission form, CostQuest will contact the requestor for clarification or more information.
- The licensee should sign the license agreement via the electronic signature platform. Once signed, CostQuest will send a copy of the completed license agreement to the licensee within 1-3 business days.
- After the license is signed, CostQuest will also prepare the Fabric data file, and the contacts listed on the Tier 4 Submission form– the licensee, the administrator, and data recipients – will receive a link to access the data within 1-2 business days.
Any questions about accessing the license agreement or how to access the Fabric data should be addressed to CostQuest at NBFsupport@costquest.com. For information about the Fabric, see What is the Location Fabric?and the Fabric FAQs.