If you find that certain information in the FCC’s Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric is inaccurate and should be corrected, you can submit a challenge either to an individual location via the National Broadband Map (as a Location Challenge) or to multiple locations as a bulk Fabric challenge in the BDC system.
When you submit a Fabric challenge, it goes through a rigorous set of validations and review processes designed to maintain the integrity and accuracy of Fabric. This article contains important tips on how to submit Fabric challenges that will be successful in correcting and updating the Fabric dataset.
Do you think location addresses are missing from the Fabric?
The Fabric is a dataset of structures, or buildings. It contains address information linked to those structures, but it is ultimately a dataset of structures. If you search for an address in the Fabric (including the secondary address data file) and do not find it, it is not necessarily true that the structure associated with that address is missing from the Fabric. This article explains why. It also explains the steps you should take and the data you should examine to determine if a broadband serviceable location is truly missing from the Fabric and would therefore result in a successful Type 1 category code (missing location) challenge to the Fabric.
Fabric Challenges: Look Before You Leap
Your chances of submitting a successful challenge or change to the Fabric—particularly the addition of a location to the Fabric (Type 1 challenge)—will be improved if you use GIS software to spatially compare the locations of Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) in the Fabric to your address locations.
Once you put the Fabric BSLs and your address locations into a GIS, you can use the following questions to help determine if a location is missing and should therefore be included in your bulk Fabric Challenge:
Does it fall on the road?
Sometimes address databases (e.g., E911, National Address Database) contain coordinates that are not located on the structure they represent but rather fall on, or very close to, a road. Similarly, geocoding engines will sometimes convert address data into coordinates that fall in a roadway.
For example, the blue pin in the screenshot below represents a failed attempt to add a location to the Fabric. Because the coordinates associated with the location in the challenge fell on the road, the location could not be added to the Fabric. Had the coordinates placed the pin on the structure—that is, on the building footprint—the challenge would have been accepted.
If you buffer a road dataset by an appropriate distance to cover the width of the road from its centerline, and then find that the coordinates of any potential challenge locations fall within the buffer, you can identify challenges that will not be successful for this reason.
Does it fall on a building?
To be successfully added to the Fabric, the coordinates of a location must fall on a structure that is (a) not an existing BSL and (b) not a building on a single-location parcel with an existing BSL.
The yellow oval on the screenshot below highlights a single-location parcel (the parcel boundaries are in red) with an existing BSL (cyan dot) and one additional structure. A Type 1 challenge to add the additional structure as a new BSL would fail because the parcel already contains a BSL.
However, if you believe that the additional structure is the true BSL and that the structure with the cyan dot is not a BSL (for example, because it is a detached garage), then you could submit a Type 5 challenge (Location is Not Within Footprint of the Correct Building). This type of challenge would indicate that the additional structure should be the BSL, rather than adding a new BSL, and is more likely to be successful.
Is it a new/future build?
If a new subdivision has been parceled, and addresses have been assigned to the lots, but no homes or buildings have yet been constructed, the Fabric will generally not include BSLs for those addresses. In such cases, a challenge to add a location will fail because the Fabric is designed to include locations that can receive broadband service. .
The example below demonstrates how the Fabric keeps up with new construction. The large parcels that have yet to be subdivided have a red dot, indicating that they are inactive Fabric locations. Similarly, the newly divided parcels that have addresses but no structure or signs of broken ground are also inactive Fabric locations with red dots. However, parcels with addresses and structures are active Fabric locations, as indicated with a cyan dot. As new data become available, the Fabric will be updated to reflect the changing landscape.
Is the point within a college/university, military boundary or prison boundary?
In the screenshot below, there is a single, large parcel that represents a college boundary. A CAI represented by an entity boundary is typically represented as a single location in the Fabric. In this case, the college is represented by the circled cyan pin. Any Type 1 challenges within this parcel will be rejected.
While there are often many structures on a campus, the processes governing how the Fabric is constructed generally allow for a single location to represent the entire CAI.
Is it a military installation?
In the screenshot below, there is a large parcel that represents a military installation. Similar to college/universities, military bases are typically represented as a single location in the Fabric. While there appears to be a residential housing development located in the top left, the location that represents Peterson Space Force Base is circled at the lower right.
Type 1 challenges within this parcel will be rejected. While there are often many structures on a military installation in which people reside, the processes governing how the Fabric is constructed generally allow for a single location to represent the entire base.
Is it a multi-unit building?
If you believe that an address is missing from the Fabric, it is important that you examine the building footprint on which the locations associated with the address falls. If the location point falls on, or very close to, a building footprint that already has a Fabric location on it, even if the location has a different primary address, there is no need to file a Type 1 challenge to add a location. Such a challenge would not succeed.
If your address is different from the primary address and is not included in the secondary address file, you can submit a category code 7 challenge to add an additional address associated with a location.
The screenshot below shows a parcel containing what appears to be an apartment complex, composed of a group of separate structures. Most of the structures are represented by an existing, active Fabric location, as indicated by the cyan dot. Any Type 1 challenges on those structures will not be successful.
However, if you believe the unit count or address information associated with those Fabric locations, you can submit a Type 3 or Type 7 challenge, respectively. In the image below, certain structures are not currently represented in the Fabric, and a Type 1 challenge could be successful for those structures. Each structure would be considered a single BSL with an appropriate value for the unit count attribute.
Further reading and references
- Fabric Resources at BDC Help: https://help.bdc.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/categories/10275178002075-The-Location-Fabric
- Fabric Methodology: https://us-fcc.app.box.com/v/Fabricmethodsmanuals
- Bulk Fabric Challenge Data Specifications: https://us-fcc.app.box.com/v/bdc-bulk-fabric-challenge-spec