The BEAD Challenge Process

California’s 120-day Challenge Process will begin on July 8, 2024, starting with the 30-day Challenge Phase. The CPUC has partnered with to provide a Challenge Portal where permissible challengers can register and submit challenges.

On June 17, the CPUC will provide the map of eligible locations, access to the Consumer Challenge website, and the data sets of unserved locations, underserved locations, served locations, and CAIs. These will be available on the Challenge Portal at 12:00 p.m. PST.

Please note that the map and data currently provided is intended for preview only. Deduplication and updating to Version 4 of the Broadband Serviceable Locations Fabric, released on May 14, 2024 (showing National Broadband Map Availability Data as of December 31, 2023) is currently underway. The final map and data downloads will be released here the week of June 24, 2024.


Pre-registration for the Challenge Portal is currently open to permissible challengers (units of local and Tribal governments, nonprofits, and broadband service providers). Registration will remain open through the Rebuttal Phase to allow challenged Service Providers to register and provide counterevidence to rebut challenged locations. For technical assistance with the Portal, please contact

Register here

The BEAD Challenge Process will determine which locations and community anchor institutions within the state are eligible for BEAD funding. This is an opportunity to provide feedback to NTIA on the FCC National Broadband Map that will inform locations eligible for BEAD funding.

Program rules require that the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband map will serve as the starting point for service status, and the FCC’s definitions for “unserved” and “underserved” will be used and prioritized in the following order:

  • Unserved locations are defined as Broadband Serviceable Locations (BSL) that lack access to “Reliable Broadband Service” at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream and at latency levels low enough to support real-time, interactive applications.
  • Underserved locations are defined as BSLs that lack access to “Reliable Broadband Service” at speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream and 20 Mbps upstream and at latency levels low enough to support real-time, interactive applications.


What is the Challenge Process?

Challengers can submit evidence to change the service status (e.g., from unserved to underserved, from served to unserved, etc.) of any individual location or group of locations once the Challenge Process has begun. These location classifications will play a critical role in the distribution of BEAD funding, as the program will give first funding priority to unserved locations, followed by underserved locations as second priority, and community anchor institutions (CAI) as third. There will be a 30-day period in which eligible challengers will be able to submit challenges to the CPUC via a web portal.

Per the NTIA, eligible challengers include:

  • Local governments
  • Tribal governments
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Broadband service providers

Can individuals also participate in the Challenge Process?

While NTIA requirements don't allow individuals to submit challenges directly, Californians will play an important role in the challenge process by identifying inaccuracies and working with eligible participating nonprofits or local governments to challenge the maps through the BEAD Consumer Challenge website. More information to come.

Types of Challenges

The BEAD Challenge Process accommodates several types of challenges. Challenges will be officially submitted via the Challenge Portal, where registered permissible challengers will be able to select locations, select a challenge type, and upload corresponding evidence. Further information on required evidence and acceptable challenge types can be found in NTIA’s BEAD Challenge Process Policy Notice. Types of challenges include:

This challenge provides evidence to change or challenge the current classification of a location as an unserved or underserved location eligible for BEAD funds based on broadband serviceable data. This may include:

  • Availability – if the listed broadband service is not available at the reported location.
  • Speed – if the actual speed of service falls below the unserved or underserved thresholds but is reported as a higher speed.
  • Latency – if the round-trip latency of the broadband service exceeds 100 milliseconds.
  • Business service only – if the location is residential, but the service offered is marketed or available only to businesses.
  • Data cap – if the only service plans marketed to a consumer impose a monthly data cap of below 600GB.
  • Technology – if the technology indicated at a location is incorrect.

This challenge provides evidence about whether a location should be classified as a CAI. The categories of locations that classify as CAIs in California are defined in NTIA’s BEAD Challenge Process Policy Notice.

This type of challenge provides evidence to identify previous federal, state, or local enforceable commitments to minimize duplication of funding. 

In this challenge, a broadband provider (or other eligible provider) offers convincing evidence that it is currently building out broadband to challenged locations without a government subsidy or is building out broadband offering performance beyond the program requirements.

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.

Key Dates

  • June 17, 2024 – Publication of Eligible Locations (map), launch of Consumer Challenge website, and availability of data sets containing unserved locations, underserved locations, and CAIs.
  • Week of June 24th - The final map and data downloads will be released here the week of June 24, 2024.
  • July 8, 2024 – Challenge Phase (start of Challenge Process)
  • August 7, 2024 – Evidentiary Review
  • August 21, 2024 – Rebuttal Phase
  • September 20, 2024 – Final Determination Phase
  • November 4, 2024 – Submit results to NTIA to approve or reverse determinations

Want to get involved?

  1. Sign up to receive updates via the CPUC email list, including announcements on upcoming events and learning opportunities.
  2. Review the California BEAD Challenge Process, outlined in the CPUC’s approved Initial Proposal Volume I.
  3. Reach out to the CPUC with any questions on the Challenge Process. Emails can be sent to: will be posted online on the FAQs page.
  4. For permissible challengers, it is encouraged to obtain a Tier D or Tier E CostQuest License, depending on the organization type. More information can be found here: Location IDs and Tier E Licenses and CostQuest Licensing | BroadbandUSA (