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BEAD Challenge Process

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program aims to help everyone in America get affordable, reliable high-speed internet by funding infrastructure deployment and adoption programs. A requirement of the BEAD program is for Pennsylvania to conduct a map challenge. This map challenge will determine which Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) and Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) will be eligible to be served by BEAD funded networks. Any changes made to Pennsylvania’s Broadband Map will be based on evidence submitted during the challenge process by qualified participants.

Pennsylvania will be administering its BEAD Challenge starting in spring 2024.  The final map will determine how we will use the $1.16 billion in BEAD program funding to close the digital divide in the Commonwealth.  A Challenge Process Fact Sheet is also available as a printable reference.

Who Can Challenge

  • Local government
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

Why Challenge

  • Identify more Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs) that are eligible for BEAD funding.
  • Identify Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs).
  • Make sure our broadband map is correct so we can make smart investments to increase affordable, reliable high-speed internet across Pennsylvania.

90-Day Challenge Process Timeline

  1. Challenge Submission Period: Eligible participants can submit challenges for 30 days.
  2. Rebuttal of Challenges: Those challenged have 30 days to respond.
  3. Final Determinations: The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) will decide if challenges and rebuttals are valid or not in another 30 days.

How to Submit a Rebuttal

When the Rebuttal Submission Period opens, notifications will be sent to all registered Permissible Challengers to provide formal notice that the challenges are open for rebuttal. PBDA will work to contact those challenged who did not register for the portal during the challenge period.

  1. Read the step-by-step Pennsylvania BEAD Challenge Process Resource Guide on how to use the BEAD Challenge Portal.
  2. Register on the BEAD Challenge Portal.
  3. Gather evidence needed to rebut a challenger.
  4. Submit your rebuttal on the BEAD Challenge Portal and wait for a response.

Webinar

The below video will provide an overview of the Pennsylvania BEAD Challenge and the process eligible entities must take to submit challenges to the map. You may also reference the PA BEAD Challenge Process PowerPoint

Resources

The BEAD Challenge Resource Guide includes a detailed overview on how to submit challenges in the BEAD Challenge Process. The following public data documents identify served, unserved, underserved and funded locations of the Commonwealth, as well as Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs). The Served, Unserved, and Underserved data is from Version 3.2 of National Broadband Map, Data as of June 30, 2023 – updated March 5, 2024. The funded BSL data is dated February 20, 2024. A data dictionary is also provided to explain the files in the enforceable funding commitment file. This data will require users to have GIS software and a broadband serviceable location fabric license to match to the National Broadband Fabric. Please see the CostQuest License section above regarding fabric licensing.

NOTE: Some files may have a lag in downloading speed given their document size.

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