How to Format Fixed Broadband Subscription Data

Fixed Broadband Subscription Data (FBS) refers to the count of subscriptions to the fixed service provider’s broadband service offerings by census tract.  

Filers should report connections to end-user premises that the service provider (including affiliates) equips to enable an end user to receive information from and/or send information to the internet at information transfer rates exceeding 200 kbps in at least one direction. 

FBS Data can be submitted in the BDC system using one of two methods: 

  • By entering the FBS Data row-by-row within the “Data Entry” tab, which is located at the top of the FBS page, next to the “Upload Files” tab 

              OR 

  • By uploading a valid file in Comma Separated Value (CSV) format that contains the following 6 required fields listed below.  When uploading this file, the header row is optional, but if it is included, it must match the Header text listed below.

 

Field 

Header 

Data Type {number of characters} 

Example 

Description / Notes 

Tract Code 

tract 

Text {11} 

11001006202 

11-digit 2020 census tract code – must be 11 digits!  Filers should also ensure that the tract code is stored as text rather than as a numeric value (otherwise, any leading zeros in the tract code will be dropped). 

Technology 

technology_code 

Integer 

50 

Code for the technology used for the deployed service.  The value must be one of the following codes: 

0 Other 

10 Copper Wire (xDSL, Ethernet over Copper, etc.) 

40 Coaxial Cable / HFC (DOCSISx) 

50 Optical Carrier / Fiber to the end user (Fiber to the home or business end user, does not include “fiber to the curb”) 

60 Geostationary Satellite 

61 Non-geostationary Satellite 

70 Unlicensed Terrestrial Wireless (including fixed service provided over WIFI sold as a fixed solution or another technology using entirely unlicensed spectrum) 

71 Licensed Terrestrial Wireless (including fixed service provided over a 4G LTE or 5G-NR mobile network but sold as a fixed solution, microwave, etc. using entirely licensed spectrum or a hybrid of licensed and unlicensed spectrum) 

Advertised Downstream Speed 

advertised_download_speed 

Decimal or Integer (depending on value) 

100 

Advertised downstream speed of the service as sold in Mbps.  Enter up to 3 places after the decimal (e.g., enter 768 kbps as 0.768).   

Report speeds greater than 10 Mbps as whole numbers or round to the nearest whole number (e.g., enter 12.25 Mbps as 12 Mbps).  If the downstream speed of the service is advertised in a range (that is, an “up to” speed), enter the high end of that range.  If no downstream speed is mentioned in marketing, enter the speed the end user should expect to receive.  (Note: Report each service option for which there are end-user connections in service.) 

Advertised Upstream Speed 

advertised_upload_speed 

Decimal or Integer (depending on value) 

20 

Advertised upstream speed of the service as sold in Mbps.  Enter up to 3 places after the decimal (e.g., enter 768 kbps as 0.768).   

Report speeds greater than 10 Mbps as whole numbers or round to the nearest whole number (e.g., enter 12.25 Mbps as 12 Mbps).  If the upstream speed is advertised in a range (that is, an “up to” speed), enter the high end of that range.  If no upstream speed is mentioned in marketing, enter the speed the end user should expect to receive.  (Note: Report each service option for which there are end-user connections in service.) 

Total Connections 

total_connections 

Integer 

100 

Total number of connections in this census tract with this combination of technology code, advertised upstream speed and advertised downstream speed. 

Consumer Connections 

consumer_connections 

Integer 

57 

Number of connections in this census tract with this combination of technology code, advertised upstream speed and advertised downstream speed provided in consumer-grade service plans.  Consider connections to be “consumer” or “residential” when they deliver internet-access services that are primarily purchased by, designed for, and/or marketed to residential end users. 

 

If we were to place the values in the “Example” column from the table above into a CSV format for upload, they would make a single data row (record) like this: 

11001006202,50,100,20,100,57 

The data row above can be translated as saying that at the time of the “as of” date for the filing, in tract 11001006202, using Fiber as the last-mile technology (code 50), the filer has a total of 100 broadband connections in service to end users with advertised bandwidths of 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream, of which, 57 connections are to consumers (i.e., residential customers). 

Rows must be unique by tract, technology, advertised downstream speed, and advertised upstream speed.  

  • If a provider has broadband connections in service in a particular census tract via two technologies, then the data should contain two records for that census tract.  
  • Similarly, if a provider has connections to two (or more) different levels of service with the same technology in a tract, then the data should contain two (or more) records for that census tract. 
  • Do not include a row for which the total number of connections is ZERO, that is, no actual subscribers in a particular combination of tract, technology, advertised downstream speed, and advertised upstream speed, even if there is deployed infrastructure to support them. 

 

An Example 

Say that your company has both consumer and business subscribers to its cable modem broadband service:

1. assume that your company offers a few flavors of business internet access service: 105 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream (105/20), 50/10 Mbps and 15/3 Mbps. These services are provided over cable modem. Your company owns the last-mile connection to end users and provisions / equips those connections as broadband. 

2. assume that on the residential side, you offer internet access services advertised as 15/3 Mbps and 6/1.5 Mbps. Again, assume that these services are provided over cable modem. your company owns the last-mile connection to end users and provisions / equips those connections as broadband. 

Your company has connections in service to each of the offerings above. There are connections at 15/3 Mbps in service to both residential and non-residential end users. For this example, let’s assume that the service is provisioned the same way to both customer classes, but the difference lies in the way the service is marketed and in the terms of service. Generally, consider connections to be consumer-grade or residential when they deliver Internet-access services that are primarily purchased by, designed for, and/or marketed to residential end users. 

Now, let’s say that after geocoding your service addresses, you find that your company has connections in service to end users in 3 tracts: 51179010404, 51179010405, and 51179010406. Summing connections by tract, last-mile technology and service bandwidths, you find the following: 

 

 

Tract Code 

 

Tech Code 

Advertised Downstream  Bandwidth (Mbps) 

Advertised Upstream  Bandwidth (Mbps) 

 

Total Connections 

 

Consumer Connections 

51179010404 

40 

15 

3 

201 

195 

51179010404 

40 

6 

1.5 

322 

322 

51179010405 

40 

15 

3 

32 

32 

51179010405 

40 

6 

1.5 

2 

2 

51179010406 

40 

105 

20 

5 

0 

51179010406 

40 

50 

10 

20 

0 

51179010406 

40 

15 

3 

45 

20 

 

Then save the data as a comma separated values (CSV) file. When opened in a text editor like NotePad, the file should look like this: 

 

Screen_Shot_2022-04-11_at_7.55.29_AM.png

 

Additional Resources

Fixed Broadband Subscription Data (Tract-level Data)

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