West Virginia BEAD Challenge Portal
Welcome to the West Virginia Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) Map Challenge Portal. Access resources around the map challenge, see the broadband map, and register to submit challenges. To submit a challenge, as per the NTIA guidance, you must represent a broadband service provider, local government, tribal government, or non-profit. Register now, in less than 2 minutes. After your identity has been confirmed, you will be granted credentials to the platform from which you can submit any number of challenges. Review the program overview below to see the different challenge categories and types to ensure you submit the appropriate evidence for each. When more than 6 locations serviced by the same provider and technology are challenged in a given census block group, the entire census block group will be considered challenged. After the challenge window closes, the rebuttal window will open to provide any counter evidence to a challenge. After the rebuttal window closes, challenges will be adjudicated and the updated map will be used as the basis for allocating BEAD funding across the state.
The West Virginia Department of Economic Development (WVDED) has adjusted the start date for the BEAD Challenge Process. The Challenge Process will begin on February 10, 2024. Registration opened on January 29 and the challenge phase will be open for 30 days, beginning on February 10 and closing on March 10, 2024.
Who can submit a challenge? Under federal BEAD Program rules, only the following entities are eligible to submit formal challenges during the BEAD Challenge Process:
- Units of local government
- Units of Tribal governments
- Non-profit organizations
- Broadband Service providers
What can be challenged?
The BEAD Challenge Process accommodates several types of challenges designed to correct different BEAD eligibility details of individual Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSLs):
- Availability Challenges allow eligible organizations to challenge whether a service is available at the location at reported speeds or could be installed within 10 business days for a standard service fee.
- Additional Service Detail Challenges can be used to identify how the actual service received at the location may exhibit high latency, lower actual speeds, or unreasonable data caps that differ from the broadband provider’s claimed service standards. Residences that are only offered business-tier services or lack access to a technology claimed to be available may also be challenged in this manner.
- Enforceable Commitment Challenges allow eligible organizations to clarify whether a BSL has already been awarded funding from an existing broadband grant program that obligates a broadband provider to provide the location with services offering speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps.
- Planned Service Challenges enable broadband providers to demonstrate that they have begun construction to provide services offering speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps to BSLs and will begin offering those services by June 30, 2024.
- CAI Challenges allow eligible organizations to correct mischaracterizations of whether a location meets the West Virginia BEAD program’s definition of Community Anchor Institution (CAI).
The eligible challenger must submit evidence that demonstrates the current information provided about the specific BSL needs to be corrected. The evidentiary requirements differ by challenge type. For example, mischaracterized service characteristics can be demonstrated in availability or additional service detail challenges using screenshots from provider websites, messages from the provider, or even engineering analysis of the physical infrastructure available at the disputed location. More information about the evidence required to demonstrate each challenge type is provided below.
Area & MDU Challenges
WVDED also enables challengers to identify and correct service details across several BSLs or several residences within a single BSL. An Area Challenge allows an eligible organization to submit evidence about a mischaracterized detail at or more broadband serviceable locations within a single census block group. The challenged ISP must then provide sufficient evidence to support its original claim, or all locations within that census block group will be updated to reflect the correction to the Availability, Technology, Latency, and Data Cap detail submitted by the challenger.
A Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU) Challenge allows eligible organizations to submit evidence about a mischaracterized detail demonstrated at a minimum of 10% of individual residences at a single MDU (at least three residences at smaller MDUs). The number of units included in the submission may contribute to the required number of residences necessary to trigger an Area Challenge as well. The Challenged ISP must submit sufficient evidence to support its original claim, or all residences in the MDU will be updated to reflect the correction.
Challenge Categories and Types
Challenges may be submitted to establish that broadband service is provided/will be provided to a given set of locations (Planned or Existing Service, Enforceable Commitment), outline that broadband service is inadequate/unreliable/not offered to a given set of locations (Provider Service Level, Not Part of an Enforceable Commitment), or identify Community Anchor Institutions (Community Anchor Institutions or CAIs are entities such as schools, community support organizations, hospitals etc that facilitate greater use of broadband service).
To submit a challenge, challengers will be required to select from the following challenge options:
- Anchor Institution Classification
- Location is a CAI: For a location that should be a CAI, but is not currently designated as a CAI in the Map.
- Location is not a CAI: For a location that should not be a CAI, but is currently designated as a CAI in the Map.
- Qualifying broadband is unavailable: For a location that is currently a CAI: a location has a reported service of at least symmetrical gigabit speed, but should not have a reported service of at least symmetrical gigabit speed.
- Qualifying broadband is available: For a location that is currently a CAI: a location does not have a reported service of at least symmetrical gigabit speed, but should have a reported service of at least symmetrical gigabit speed.
- Provider Service Level
- Availability: For a location with service reported by a provider that does not receive service from the provider.
- Speed: For a location with lower service speed than is reported by a provider
- Latency: For a location with latency reported by a provider under 100ms that receives latency over 100ms from the provider.
- Data Cap: For a location with a reasonable capacity allowance reported by a provider that receives an unreasonable capacity allowance from the provider.
- Technology: For a location with service reported by a provider using a specific technology that does not receive service using that technology from the provider.
- Business Service Only: For a residential location with service reported by a provider, but where the service offered by the provider is marketed to or available only to businesses.
- Enforceable Commitments
- Covered by Enforceable Commitment: For a location that is not marked as covered by an enforceable commitment on the Map, but is covered by an enforceable commitment.
- Not Covered by Enforceable Commitment: For a location that is marked as covered by an enforceable commitment on the Map, but is not covered by an enforceable commitment.
- Planned or Existing Service
- Planned Service: Report a service that has been planned and will be deployed by June 30, 2024.
- Existing Service: Report an existing service that does not currently appear on the map.
Challenge the designation of a location as a Community Anchor Institution (CAI) or non-CAI, as well as whether the location has symmetrical gigabit service (“qualifying broadband”).
Challenge attributes of broadband service currently reported by a service provider, including the availability of the service, the speed and latency of the service, data caps associated with the service, the technology of the service, or service only being available to non-residential customers.
For broadband deployment projects funded by grants issued by the State of West Virginia or the federal government (“enforceable commitments”): challenge the designation of a location that should be covered by an enforceable commitment but is not reported as such on the Map, or challenge the designation of a location that is reported as covered by an enforceable commitment but should not be marked as such.
For planned or existing broadband deployment that are not funded by the State of West Virginia or the federal government: report a service that is planned and will be deployed by June 30, 2024, or an existing service that does not appear on the map.
The challenge portal only allows challengers to select a subset of locations from the geospatial interface. This subset is modified based on the challenge category and type selected. For example, in a provider service level challenge, only served or underserved locations from the selected provider and technology type are selectable. In a CAI challenge, only one location can be selected at a time. This aims to simplify the challenge process and ensure that locations are not incorrectly selected for a given challenge. Any number of locations may be selected for a provider service level or planned/existing service challenge although it is recommended to submit multiple smaller challenges to track challenges more easily and ensure that it is not invalidated due to being partially inaccurate. There is no limit on the number of challenges that may be submitted. Locations may be selected by uploading shapefiles, selecting from an existing library of shapefiles, drawing on the map, 'shift-dragging' across a set of locations, or individually selecting locations.
Each challenge type requires a different type of evidence and lists different questions during the challenge submission process. Evidence may be submitted in the form of file uploads or narrative support or both. Evidence may be added after the challenge has been submitted until the challenge window closes. After a challenge passes initial review, challenged entities will be notified and submit a rebuttal when the rebuttal window opens.