Challenge Process

blue and green background with lines and nodes

The BEAD Challenge Process

Arizona was awarded $993.1 million in federal funding to build infrastructure and expand internet access in rural and historically underserved communities.  The BEAD Program rules require states to prioritize funds in this order: 

  1. Connect Unserved Locations (available service is 25/3 Megabits per second or less) 
  2. Connect Underserved locations (available service is at least 25/3 Mbps but less than 100/20 Mbps)
  3. Connect Community Anchor Institutions to gigabit symmetrical service (1,000/1,000 Mbps) 


What is the challenge process?

The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program requires the Arizona Commerce Authority to allow stakeholders to challenge the accuracy of BEAD-eligible locations. Confirmation of locations that currently lack access to high-speed internet is essential for funding to be used to connect these areas.


Therefore, the State Broadband Office will administer a Challenge process to verify whether a particular location or community anchor institution is unserved or underserved. The Challenge Process provides an opportunity to correct inaccuracies in the state’s broadband map, ensuring it reflects the most up-to-date broadband access across the state. The updated map will determine which locations are eligible for funding through the BEAD program.


Arizona Challenge Process Portal


Permissible challengers are required to complete the registration process via the portal before submitting a challenge. To initiate registration, kindly follow the provided link. Once on the portal, locate the 'Sign In' option in the upper right-hand corner and proceed to request a new account.


Any technical issues registering for the challenge process map please contact the state broadband office at: [email protected]


Who is Eligible to Submit a Challenge?

As per the NTIA guideline only the following entities are allowed to submit challenges:  

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


Challenge Process RESOURCES

Challenge Files

Datasets that are used to support the state challenge process.


Challenge Process Informational Materials 

These documents provide an overview of the challenge process and how to participate. 


Broadband Navigator User Guide

The Challenge Process User Guide, created by AppGeo, is a technical document for navigating and interacting with the challenge portal. 



State Broadband Challenge Process AND TIMELINE Explained

Below are the four distinct phases and a brief timeline describing the of the challenge process.


Phase 1 - Registration and Location Publication

  • The broadband challenge map will be made public 14 days before challenges are accepted, to allow eligible challengers time to review the map and prepare their challenges. Eligible challengers will be able to register to the portal.

Phase 2 - Challenge Process Begin

  • During the challenge phase, eligible challengers will be able to submit challenges through the challenge portal. Supporting evidence will be required for all challenges.
  • Challenges will be sent to the service provider whose service availability and performance are being challenged so that rebuttals can be prepared.
  • After a challenge is received for a broadband-serviceable location, that location will be designated as “challenged” on the map.
  • The window of time to submit challenges will last for 60 days.

Phase 3 - Rebuttal

  • During the rebuttal phase, challenged service providers may submit evidence to rebut the challenge for specific broadband-serviceable locations.
  • Challenged service providers may choose not to rebut the challenge. If so, the challenge is sustained, and the designation of the location will be changed accordingly.
  • If challenged service providers choose to rebut a challenge, the challenged location will be designated as “disputed” on the map.
  • Supporting evidence will be required for all rebuttals.
  • Challenges that are disputed will enter the final determination phase.
  • The rebuttal phase will last for 15 days, meaning, a challenged service provider will have 15 days after receiving a challenge to submit a rebuttal.

Phase 4 - Final Determination

  • Following the rebuttal phase, the State Broadband Office will review all disputed locations and make a final determination of the location’s classification.
  • At the end of the final determination phase, all challenges will be determined as either “sustained” or “rejected”.
  • The final determination phase will last for 30 days, meaning, State Broadband Office will have 30 days from receipt of a rebuttal to release the final determination for the challenge.



Request a CostQuest License

Participating entities are encouraged to request a no-cost NTIA Tier D or Tier E License from CostQuest Associates to participate in the State Broadband Challenge Process. However, obtaining a CostQuest license is not required to participate in the challenge process. This license will permit licensees to view the BSL data on a more granular level and is an important tool for analyzing areas that may need to be challenged. The process to request a license may take up to two weeks. 


How to Request a License 

Review the NTIA Fabric Licensing FAQ to learn about the licensing process and determine the appropriate tier license for your organization. 

Tier D 

Entities that participate in any federal broadband programs, including entities with reporting requirement or entities that plan to participate in the BEAD sub-granting process, should request a Tier D License. Internet service providers, for example, should request a Tier D license. Licensees will be similar to those with an FCC Fabric Tier 2 license. 

Use this guide for requesting an NTIA Tier D to assist in completing the application process. 




Tier E  

Entities that will participate in the challenge process, but do not participate in federal broadband programs, should request Tier E license. Nonprofit organizations, for example, should request Tier E license. Licensees will be similar to those with an FCC Fabric Tier 4 license. 

Use this guide for requesting an NTIA Tier E to assist with completing the application process. 




Get Involved with Challenge PROCESS Engagement

Challenge Portal Training Webinars

These webinars are intended to walk permissible challengers through the Challenge Process led by the State Broadband Office and AppGeo outlining the challenge portal and answer any questions. Please find pre-recorded videos below:

Challenge Process Office Hours

Following the pre-challenge phase and the completion of webinars, Permissible Challengers may still require assistance with portal and challenge-related questions. The State Broadband Office has designated two hours every Tuesday from 1:00PM-3:00PM (AZ TIME) as Challenge Process Office Hours, divided into four thirty-minute slots. These slots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.