If a provider disputes the challenges made to their fixed availability data, it must provide evidence in the BDC system, and separately to the challenger, either:
- showing that the provider makes service available and is willing to serve the challenged location, or
- otherwise countering the challenger’s assertions (for example, providing evidence that the location has access to service that uses the technology reported in the BDC, if the challenge is based on the type of technology reported).
This is a provider’s sole opportunity to submit evidence that the FCC will rely on to determine the outcome of the challenge, if the challenge isn’t resolved between the two parties. Accordingly, providers should be as thorough as possible in their response to the challenge.
Each challenge must be assessed on the evidence submitted by the parties. Understanding that the evidence submitted with challenges and provider record keeping practices will vary, providers have flexibility in how they respond to challenges. We expect that provider responses will:
- Address each material element of a challenge directly, clearly, and with fact-based evidence.
- For example, if a challenger asserts that service using the reported technology is not available at the location, the response should specifically demonstrate that the disputed technology is available.
- Provide documentation to support your response.
- For example, if a challenger asserts that service is not offered at a location as reported, documentation of service offers made to, received by, and then rejected by the challenger could support a finding against the challenger.
- When submitting diagrams, maps, photos or other visual representations of an area, providers should include legends, labels or other explanatory information, so that the challenger and FCC staff can readily understand what they represent and how they are relevant to the response.
- Consider that the challenger and/or FCC staff may not be as familiar as the provider with some circumstances associated with the challenge or the response. Responses should provide explanations where appropriate so that the response can be understood without requiring the reviewer to make inferences or to have information outside the submitted evidence.