FCC Extends Limited Waiver for Professional Engineer Requirement in BDC Reporting Subject to Additional Conditions

The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) granted a Petition for Extension of Waiver, which extends the 2022 waiver of the requirement for Professional Engineer (“PE”) certification of Broadband Data Collection (“BDC”) filings (“2022 Waiver”).1 The extension of the limited 2022 Waiver will apply to the three upcoming BDC filing periods covering data as of December 31, 2023, June 30, 2024, and December 31, 2024. The waiver extension is subject, however, to additional conditions. Any provider availing itself of the waiver extension must have its filings certified by an engineering professional meeting the qualifications in the 2022 Waiver and check the appropriate box under the Certifying Engineer section of the Certification form in the BDC system, but also (i) preserve for the applicable “as of” filing date(s) certain underlying network information, and (ii) expeditiously provide the preserved network information to the FCC upon request.

The 2022 Waiver qualifications specify that a certifying engineering professional certifying must possess “either (i) a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree in electrical engineering, electronic technology, or another similar technical discipline, and at least seven years of relevant experience in broadband network design and/or performance; or (ii) specialized training relevant to broadband network engineering and design, deployment, and/or performance, and at least ten years of relevant experience in broadband network engineering, design, and/or performance.” The additional network information that must be retained and provided upon FCC request is as follows:

Mobile Providers must retain and provide mobile infrastructure data specified in Sections 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 of the Data Specifications for Provider Infrastructure Data in the Challenge, Verification, and Audit Processes (“Data Specifications”).
Terrestrial Fixed Wireless Providers must retain and provide propagation modeling and fixed wireless infrastructure data, including the link budget information, specified in Section 2.2 of the Data Specifications.
Fixed Wireline Providers must retain and provide infrastructure data on the locations of network distribution hubs and splitters specified in Section 2.1 of the Data Specifications.
Satellite Providers must retain and provide structured data reflecting the status of the system deployment as of the relevant filing period (additional details about such information to be released by the FCC soon).

Finally, all certifying engineers (PEs, corporate engineering officers, and other engineering professionals covered by the waiver extension) are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of BDC filings and are subject to the FCC’s authority to apply sanctions where appropriate.

Please contact Robin Tuttle at [email protected] or Dee Herman at [email protected] if you have any questions about the waiver extension or requirements.

[1] The FCC’s rules already allow a corporate engineering officer who is not a PE to certify BDC filings.