West Virginia Department of Economic Development Updates West Virginia BEAD Challenge Process

The West Virginia Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) Challenge Process to begin February 10 and run until March 10

CHARLESTON, W.VA — The West Virginia Department of Economic Development (WVDED) has adjusted the start date for the West Virginia Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) Challenge Process. The Challenge Process will begin on February 10, 2024, following the approval of the BEAD Initial Proposal Volume I. 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. 

The West Virginia BEAD Challenge Process allows stakeholders in West Virginia to dispute the level of internet service reported on the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Map available at a given location within the State. Under federal BEAD Program rules, only units of local government, nonprofit organizations and broadband service providers are eligible to submit challenges during the BEAD Challenge Process. Challengers must submit evidence that demonstrates the current information about the specific location that needs to be corrected. 

Eligible entities can learn more and register to participate in the West Virginia BEAD Challenge Process by visiting register.broadband.wv.gov/register/bead. Instructions and a slide presentation are available at broadband.wv.gov.  A video tutorial is available at: youtu.be/YHZpD4G8ki0?feature=shared.  West Virginia has teamed with Ready.net to administer the challenge process. Registrants should submit one primary user per entity in the Ready.net system. Additional users can be added to the primary account following registration. 

After the 30-day challenge phase closes, the 30-day rebuttal phase will open to provide any counter-evidence to a challenge. After the rebuttal phase closes, challenges will be adjudicated in a final determination phase. Following completion of the Challenge Process, the final updated map will be used to allocate BEAD funding across the State.

WVDED is tasked with deploying local and federal broadband funds, including those from the BEAD program. In June 2023, the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) announced that West Virginia would be awarded $1.2 billion of this funding to provide high-speed broadband access to its residents. This historic investment in broadband infrastructure and related digital inclusion efforts will support West Virginia’s vision for universal broadband access.

NTIA approval of the Initial Proposal Volume I marks a significant step forward in West Virginia’s ongoing initiative to expand and improve broadband access to approximately 168,000 unserved and underserved locations across West Virginia.

Please review the attached Challenge Process guidelines for additional details. Note: Due to ongoing discussions between federal and state partners, this information in this document is subject to update and clarification. Any revised documents will be posted to broadband.wv.gov

WV BEAD Challenge Process Instructions

Where can I learn more?

The WVDED will present details concerning the Challenge Process at the February 8, 2024, 10:00 a.m., meeting of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council.  Eligible entities can learn more and register to participate in the West Virginia BEAD Challenge Process by visiting register.broadband.wv.gov/register/bead. Instructions and a slide presentation are available at broadband.wv.gov.  A video tutorial is available at: youtu.be/YHZpD4G8ki0?feature=shared

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
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Broadband providers
  • Units of Tribal government

To successfully participate in the Challenge Process eligible entities are strongly encouraged to obtain a license to the FCC Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric from CostQuest. Two licenses are made available for potential challengers:

  • Tier D: Made available for ISPs; and
  • Tier E: The Tier E license is intended for units of local government, non-profits, and other organizations that have signed an FCC Tier 4 license. Request a Tier E license at: https://apps.costquest.com/ntiatiererequest/

A CostQuest License is not required to file challenges directly through the challenge portal. However, if you are considering submitting bulk challenges (challenges to more than one location in the same submission), WVDED highly recommends a license.

Where can I obtain the list of unserved, underserved, and CAI Location IDs?

CSVs containing unserved, underserved, and CAI location IDs are available for download here:https://broadband.wv.gov/west-virginia-unserved-underserved-location-csv-files/. Only location IDs are available.

In the CAI CSV, coordinates and address information has been removed for records containing Location IDs. Coordinates are made available for locations that are not derived from the CostQuest fabric. Locations not derived from the Fabric have a Location ID value as “0.”

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