About » Technical Overview » Assembling the Data

Eight layers comprise the information collected in this project: (1) Service Address, (2) Service Road Segment, (3) Service Blocks, (4) Service Wireless, (5) Service Overview, (6) Service Community Anchor Institutions, (7) Middle Mile and (8) Last Mile. Using Extract Transfer and Load (ETL) software and geospatial operations, these eight layers are moved into a single comprehensive data container. The description below provides more information about these layers. For the complete processing steps that we go through to perform the data integration steps, please see the following git repository https://github.com/FCC/NBM-Processing. For a discussion on how we translate this into the layers that drive the map, see Post Processing Data.

This integration process is fundamental to the development of the complete National Broadband Map (NBM). Generally, the data include wired broadband availability at the census block, road segment or address level, with provider name, type of broadband technology employed, maximum advertised and typical speed. Wireless availability is collected in free form shape with provider name, type of broadband technology employed, spectrum, maximum advertised and typical speed. Middle mile interconnection points contain provider name, facility capacity and type, end users served, location and elevation. Last mile points contain provider name, technology type, facility capacity and type, end users served, location and elevation. Community Anchor Institutions include name, location, category, type of technology subscribed, subscribed to, and maximum advertised upstream and downstream speed. Please note that middle and last mile data is not included in the NBM.

Service Address

Address Point refers to those individual addresses at which a wireline broadband service is available. Address points are generally submitted for areas where census blocks are greater than 2 square miles and the program considers the actual address confidential when paired with the name of the provider, speed and type of technology. For each address point, the grantee provides a record with the provider name, broadband technology employed, advertised and typical speeds. For the purposes of the map, we buffer the address by 500 feet to ensure a treatment identical to road segments.

Road Segment

Service Road Segment refers to those road segments in which a wireline broadband service is available. Road Segment availability data should be submitted only for census blocks greater than two square miles. For each road segment, the provider name and technology it provides are represented. In addition, advertised and typical upload and download speeds are often reported at these levels.

Census Blocks

This refers to those individual US Census Blocks, less than two square miles, in which wired broadband service is available. For each area (e.g., census block less than two square miles) the provider name, technology and maximum available and typical upload and download speed are represented, where provided. In some cases, the speed information is provided in the Service Overview layer. Since the census block is the smallest geographic unit for which the US Census collects aggregate data, if a provider offers availability to any location within a census block less than two square miles, we estimate household or population coverage will include the entire block, even though it is possible that some areas are not covered. Wireline broadband in water-only census blocks or in census blocks with a population of 0 should be reviewed for accuracy. Census Block Vintage - Census 2010.

Service Wireless

Service Wireless are the free form areas which represent wireless broadband availability and are not specific to any other geographic bounding area (e.g., census block or address). This data includes Terrestrial Fixed Wireless (Licensed and Unlicensed, Terrestrial Mobile Wireless and Satellite).


Satellite shapes are required to be submitted as long as the service meets the definition of broadband and available.

Service Overview

Service Overview refers to speed data collected at an aggregate or overview level. Speed is divided into two areas: (a) typical/advertised speed, and (b) average weighted speed. Grantees make every effort to collect typical/advertised speed at the block level, but we recognize that this cannot always be achieved, so we provide an opportunity to aggregate the data here. Average weighted speed and Average Revenue Per User are optional submissions.

Community Anchor Institutions

Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) consist of schools, libraries, medical and healthcare providers, public safety entities, community colleges and other institutions of higher education, and other community support organizations and entities. Awardees are collecting the location and type of institution and, if it subscribes to broadband, the broadband service package to which it subscribes.

Middle Mile

Middle Mile refers to a list of interconnection points of facilities in each state that provides connectivity between (a) a service provider's network elements (or segments) or (b) between a service provider's network and another provider's network, including the Internet backbone. Collectively, (a) and (b) are middle mile and backbone interconnection points.

Middle Mile and backbone interconnection points typically enable relatively fast data rates, are built to handle substantial capacities, and may be service-quality assured. Examples might include points of interconnection-enabling communications between an incumbent local exchange carrier central office and the Internet, between a cable aggregation point (headend) and the Internet, or between a wireless base station and the provider's core network elements that connect to other networks, including the Internet.

Last Mile

Last Mile refers to a list of the locations of the first points of aggregation in the networks (serving facilities) used by facilities-based providers to provide broadband service to end users.

Last Mile infrastructure consists of facilities used to provide broadband service between end-user (including residences, businesses, community anchor institutions, etc.), equipment and the appropriate access point, router or first significant aggregation point in the broadband network. Examples of such facilities include, among other things: for broadband service provided by incumbent local exchange carriers, connections between end users and the central office or remote terminal; for cable modem service, connections between end users and the cable headend or fiber node; for wireless broadband service, connections between the wireless end-user device or customer premises equipment and the wireless tower or base station; for WiFi broadband service, connections between end users and the WiFi access point; or the analogous portion of the facilities of other providers of broadband services. The first points of aggregation in this context are therefore the central office, remote terminal, cable headend, wireless tower or base station, or the like.

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