FCC places priority on challenges to National Broadband Map received by Jan. 13, 2023
TALLAHASSEE – On Jan. 4, 2023, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) encouraged Floridians to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Map challenge process to help verify broadband Internet access data within unserved and underserved areas in Florida. The accuracy of FCC’s map is essential to future broadband Internet funding for the state of Florida through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program opening in 2023.
Floridians are encouraged to visit the FCC National Broadband Map and enter their home or business address to view a summary of the FCC’s broadband Internet data for that location. The map allows Floridians to submit challenges related to address locations, available service providers, and available service speeds, providing beneficial insight into Florida’s most unserved and underserved areas. Challenges received by January 13, 2023, will be prioritized and will continue to be accepted on a rolling basis.
Floridians without a fixed (wired) or mobile broadband connection are especially encouraged to participate. A mobile phone, a friend or family member’s computer, or a public access site (a school, community center, or public library) can be used to enter a home address, review, and if needed, challenge the FCC’s national broadband map.
For additional information on the Florida Office of Broadband, visit www.FloridaJobs.org/Broadband.
Additional Broadband Internet Expansion Efforts
- In November 2022, the Florida Office of Broadband received $247.8 million from the U.S. Treasury for the Capital Projects Fund Broadband Infrastructure Program. The Office was also awarded $2.4 million for their Digital Equity Planning Grant, as well as $5 million for the BEAD 5-year action plan.
- In November 2022, the final rule for the Broadband Opportunity Program became effective.
- In October 2022, the Florida Office of Broadband filed the final rule package to Florida’s Joint Administrative Procedures Committee and updated the Office website with information on the Broadband Opportunity Program, including program guidelines, frequently asked questions, and information on the technical assistance walk though webinars.
- In September 2022, DEO posted the final application and scoring and evaluation criteria for the Broadband Opportunity Program to the website. DEO also Published the Notice of Proposed Rule in the Florida Administrative Weekly.
- In August 2022, DEO hosted three regional workshops (Bartow in Polk County on August 22, Milton in Santa Rosa County on August 25, and Moore Haven in Glades County on August 29) to receive community input on rulemaking for the implementation of the $400 million Broadband Opportunity Program.
- In June 2022, DEO submitted the Florida Strategic Plan for Broadband to the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and the President of the Senate. The Florida Strategic Plan for Broadband lays out the vision of the Florida Office of Broadband, the roles for state and local participants, and the strategies to undertake as Florida works toward a fully connected citizenry, both economically and socially.
- In June 2022, DEO published the Faster Florida Broadband Map, which identifies census blocks as unserved, underserved, served, and no fixed internet service as defined in Section 288.9961, Florida Statutes. The map also identifies Florida geographic boundaries, community anchor institutions, grant funding opportunities, and information on the speed tests taken through the Florida Broadband Availability Map.
- In December 2021, DEO published Florida’s Broadband Availability Map to identify where broadband-capable networks exist, where service is available to end users, gaps in rural areas, and download and upload speeds. DEO continues to collect data from Floridians on their availability and accessibility of broadband Internet to be added to the map through its Broadband Internet Speed Test.
- In September 2021, DEO launched the Local Technology Planning Team initiative using the Broadband Planning Toolkit developed by the Florida Office of Broadband. Local Technology Planning Teams are tasked with working within their communities to understand their current broadband availability, locate unserved and underserved businesses and residents, identify assets relevant to broadband deployment, build partnerships with broadband service providers, and identify opportunities to leverage assets and reduce barriers to the deployment of broadband Internet services in the community.
- In February 2021, DEO partnered with the Florida Regional Councils Association to host 10 virtual workshops where participants discussed broadband internet accessibility. Industry sector and community leaders within each region were invited to participate. These industry sectors included education, healthcare, private business, community organizations, agriculture, tourism, parks and recreation, economic development, local governments, and internet service providers.
- During Florida’s 2021 Legislative session, House Bill 1239 passed and provided an allocation of $1.5 million to develop geographic information system (GIS) maps of Florida’s currently availability of broadband internet service.
- In July 2020, the Florida Office of Broadband was established within DEO’s Division of Community Development to increase the availability and effectiveness of broadband internet throughout the state. The amendment of Section 288.9961, Florida Statutes, and creation of Sections 288.9962 and 288.9963, Florida Statutes, provides DEO access to federal grant dollars and assists rural communities with the expansion of broadband services, as well as provides directives for broadband mapping and the Broadband Opportunity Program.
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