Skip to content
Back to Top

Frequently Asked Questions for the Grant Program and Mapping Challenge:

1. What is BEAD?
The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program is funding provided, by Congress, to ensure all Americans have access to high-speed internet. High-speed internet is defined as 100Mbps download (watching videos) and 20Mbps upload (posting photos). Alaska was allocated $1,017,139,672.42 to reach all Alaskans who do not currently have 100/20Mbps service.
2. What is the In-State Mapping Challenge?
It is a part of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program to ensure the internet service at homes, businesses, and Community Anchor Institutions is correctly identified. The Alaska Broadband Office (ABO) is running a four-stage In-State Mapping Challenge to improve the map that will be used to identify locations eligible for funding under the BEAD Program
3. What are the four 30-day stages of the In-State Mapping Challenge?

The four stages are:

Stage 1: A review of homes and businesses (Broadband Serviceable Locations or BSLs) and Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs) for internet speed and/or availability.

Stage 2: Challenges to service levels submitted by Alaskans to the Alaska Broadband Office (ABO).

Stage 3: Challenges reviewed and either accepted or rebutted by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Stage 4: Where there is a difference, the ABO will decide in favor of the challenge or rebuttal based on evidence.

4. Who is allowed to submit a challenge?
There are four different types of entities that may officially submit a challenge. Those include municipal government (cities and boroughs), Tribal governments, non-profit organizations, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
5. How do I submit a challenge if I am not part of one of the four official challengers?
If you are an individual, or if you represent an organization that is not a local or Tribal government, non-profit organization, or Internet Service Providers (ISPs), you may still submit a challenge. Once inside the Challenge Portal, click the radial button next to the word “Other,” and follow the outlined process. Challenges submitted by an “Other” entity will, be reviewed by the Alaska Broadband Office and forwarded to a non-profit organization to submit on your behalf.
6. How do I know if my house will qualify for the expanded service?
You can look on the Broadband Map in the Alaska Broadband Mapping Challenge Portal and see the status of your house. If your house marker is red or orange, your house may qualify for expanded service. If the marker is green or blue, your house does not qualify for service unless there is a valid challenge to the green (served with broadband) or blue (a project is underway to bring broadband internet) status.
7. How do I know if I need to submit a challenge?
Looking at the Broadband Map in the Alaska Broadband Mapping Challenge Portal, first find your location on the map. If you believe the service level is incorrect, you may want to submit a challenge. The service levels are: Green: served (100/20Mbps), Orange: underserved (can’t reach 100/20Mbps, but can reach 25/3Mbps), Red: unserved (can’t reach 25/3Mbps) or Blue: Has a project to reach 100/20Mbps. If you are looking up a Community Anchor Institution (CAI) instead of a home or small business, and it does not show up on the map and is not in the Alaska CAI List Excel spreadsheet available in the Alaska Broadband Mapping Challenge Portal, if it meets the definition of one of the types of CAIs, and/or lacks access to 1 Gigabit per second (1Gbps/1Gbps).
8. It sounds complicated, is there information to help someone through the challenge process?
Yes. In the Alaska Broadband Mapping Challenge Portal, there is a BEAD Challenge Resource Guide that provides helpful information on different aspects of the process. There are also step-by-step video tutorials that narrate along with visual cues to explain each challenge option.
9. Does the map show cell service?
No. The map only shows the status of broadband internet.
10. What is the difference between “Broadband Internet” and “Cell Service”?
Broadband Internet is delivered using fiber optic cable, microwave signals or satellite signals. Broadband Internet is fixed, generally to a single address. Cellular is a specific service designed to be mobile.
11. What is the definition of Broadband Serviceable Location (BSL)?
A BSL is a business or residential location in the United States at which mass-market fixed broadband internet access service is, or can be, installed.
12. What is the definition of Community Anchor Institution (CAI)?
A CAI is an entity such as a Community Gathering Location, Community Support Organization, Clinic, Health Center, Hospital, Other Medical Provider, Library, Non-Profit Support Organization, Public Housing Organization, Public Safety Entity, Remote Job Center, School, Shelter, Washateria, or Youth Support Organization that facilitates greater use of broadband service by vulnerable populations, including, but not limited to, low-income individuals, unemployed individuals, children, the incarcerated, and aged individuals.
13. What are the different types of Challenges?

Yes. There are four types of challenges:

A. BSL service level. Under this challenge type there are six service level challenges: a. availability, b. speed, c. latency, d. data cap, e. technology, and f. business service only.

B. CAI location and/or eligibility based on broadband need.

C. Whether a location is, or is not, included in an enforceable commitment project.

D. Whether a location is included in a planned project.

14. What are the definitions of the six different types of service level challenges for a Broadband Serviceable Location(BSL)?
a. Availability: Broadband service is not available. b. Speed: The actual speed of the service tier falls below the unserved or underserved threshold. c. Latency: The time it takes a bit to get to the internet and back. It should not exceed 100 milliseconds (ms) as shown on the tests. d. Data Cap: The only service plans marketed to consumers impose an unreasonably low usage allowance (less than 600 Gigabytes (GB)) on the consumer. e. Technology: The technology indicated for the location is not correct. f. Business Service Only: The location is residential, but the service offered is marketed or available only to businesses.
15. What is considered unserved at a Community Anchor Institution?
Community Anchor Institutions with service below 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and 1 Gbps upload (symmetrical) are considered unserved.
16. What is an Enforceable Commitment?
An Enforceable Commitment is a location that is included in a project to build broadband infrastructure subsidized by either the federal or state government (e.g., locations included in projects funded under grants from the NTIA Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, or USDA ReConnect).
17. What is a Planned Project?
A Planned Project is a location that is included in a project to build broadband infrastructure that is already funded by an existing Internet Service Provider (ISP) that will be completed by June 30, 2024.
18. What is the purpose of the Stage 1 review and how long will it last?
The Stage 1 review is to allow a preview of the locations to understand the categorization of a BSL or CAI. The 30-day Stage 1 review runs from April 6, 2024 to May 5, 2024.
19. What is purpose of Stage 2 and how long will it last?
The Stage 2 Challenge Phase is where challenges can be submitted online in the Alaska Broadband Mapping Challenge Portal. The 30-day Stage 2 phase will begin on May 6, 2024, and end on June 4, 2024.
20. What is the purpose of Stage 3 and how long will it last?
The Stage 3 Challenge Phase is to allow the service providers to rebut challenges that have been submitted. The providers will review and determine whether to accept or rebut the challenge. The 30-day Stage 3 phase will begin on June 5, 2024 and end on July 5, 2024.
21. What is Stage 4 and how long will it last?
Stage 4 Challenge Phase is the Mediation Period where the Alaska Broadband Office reviews rebuttals from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to determine if the challenge or the rebuttal will be accepted. This phase will begin on July 6, 2024 and will end on August 4, 2024.
22. How do I track the status of my challenge?
There will be a link on the Alaska Broadband Office Website to a Challenge Tracking Dashboard. The status of all challenges will be posted there at regular intervals.
23. When will my town get improved service?
It depends. If the locations in your town are blue on the map, that means there is a project to build. If you click on a blue location on the map, at the bottom of the information in the box is the federal awardee for the project. You can contact them for their build schedule. If the marker(s) are red or orange, it will be several years before fiber optic cables are built; if the marker(s) is/are green, the location(s) are considered served will not be eligible for any additional BEAD program funding to build.
24. Is the State of Alaska going to build and own broadband fiber?
No. The State will be selecting qualified applicants through a competitive grant program to build broadband to the unserved locations in the state.
25. How much is expanded service going to cost me?
The cost of the expanded service and what expanded services will be available is still being discussed between the state and the federal government. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) requires a 100Mbps/20Mbps low-cost option.
26. Who is the grant program for?
Qualifying entities that will construct high-speed internet infrastructure for Alaskans without 100Mbps download and 20Mbps upload speeds.
27. I don’t like my current service; will I have different options after this program is done?
Maybe. If any current provider for your location already provides 100Mbps/20Mbps broadband speeds, then no. If 100Mbps/20Mbps is not available in your location and the highest option available is 25Mbps/3Mbps, then yes.