The National Hex Toolkit is a broadband planning tool enabling ISPs and state broadband offices to exploit the latest available FCC data for network planning and BEAD eligibility. It also enables the user to distinguishing between “served or funded”, “underserved and unfunded”, and “unserved and unfunded” on an extremely precise basis.
It reflects the latest November 2023 FCC release of FCC BDC Fabric v3 coverage data and metadata reflecting networks nationwide as of 6-30-2023.
In 2024 states will receive tens of billions of dollars of federal funding (ARP/CPF and IIJA/BEAD) for infrastructure grants (link). This is a tool for those who need to do BEAD planning.
The Broadband DATA Act in combination with the FCC's Broadband Data Collection (BDC) program results in a Fabric of locations and associated ISP coverage data that the FCC has associated with two geometries: traditional census blocks and the H3 hexagonal grid. The hexagonal grid enables an exceptionally high resolution (example) in rural areas, where census blocks tend to be large.
This single tool allows the user to explore coverage and technologies across 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia. Large rural census blocks that characterize legacy coverage maps are replaced with a collection of precise polygons that show unambiguously where high quality coverage and specific technologies reside.
The National Hex Toolkit identifies the highest quality of coverage (100-20 Mbps, 25-3 Mbps, or less) present in each small area (H3 level 8) based on the four “reliable” technologies identified in the BEAD NOFO. It also identifies the presence by speed category of: fiber, cable, DSL/copper, and licensed fixed wireless access.
The Toolkit distinguishes between populated and unpopulated areas and shows the precise number of locations and units (think “homes passed”) within each populated hexagon.
The data sets include:
Locations and units (the language of the “Fabric”) per H3 level 8 hexagon.
Broadband offerings at three BEAD performance thresholds:
Federal Programs: FCC: RDOF, CAF II, Connect USVI, and Bringing Puerto Rico Together. NTIA: Broadband Infrastructure Program and Tribal Connectivity. USDA RUS: Telephone Loan, Rural EConnectivity Program, and Community Connect, all seen through the lens of the BEAD NOFO as “enforceable commitments”.
USDA Metrics (Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), and various measures of rurality).
Measured network performance data (uplink and downlink speeds), service pricing, and other data provided by multiple third parties (not-for-profit and commercial) and in some cases aggregated by the NTIA.
Community Anchor Institutions (schools (k-12), libraries, medical / healthcare, public safety, universities / colleges / post-secondary, other / government, other / NGO)
911 / PSAP boundaries
A vast collection of geographic boundaries, high resolution numerical data (visualized with a click of the mouse), streaming maps, and other tools.
Demographic and economic data is presented as visual and numerical heat maps:
Housing unit density
Income per capita
Mean household income
Median household income
Poverty Line (reflecting HH size)
SNAP Participation Rate
The Toolkit also includes a set of point data (missing locations) reflecting state-level efforts to improve gaps in the national Fabric. The data was collected over a period months, vetted, accepted by the FCC, and released to the public in 2023. While also integrated into the Fabric, the separate point set shows where successful challenges occurred.
Some of the data sets described above are available only for the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, but not for Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, or the U.S. Virgin Islands.