Washington’s BEAD Challenge Process

Welcome to  Washington’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) Challenge Page. We will conduct a required state challenge process during the spring of 2024. This process will provide a formal avenue to capture challenges to a Broadband Service Location (BSL) status as “served,” “underserved” or “unserved.”

Challenge Process Overview

Challenge Portal Link

Challenge Process Timeline 

Step 1: Challenge process – April 15 to May 14, 2024
Step 2: Rebuttal phase – April 15 to June 23, 2024
Step 3: Final determination – Aug. 3, 2024

The Washington State Broadband Office is opening the state Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) Challenge Process on April 15.
“The challenge process is an opportunity for eligible challengers to increase the accuracy of our Broadband Service Location (BSL) Map,” said Aaron Wheeler, Washington State Broadband Office Director. “This is an essential step in our efforts to bring broadband internet to those across the state who haven’t had access to this critical service in the past. Only locations identified as unserved or underserved will be eligible for BEAD funding.”

Read the complete message using this link. 

Who is eligible to challenge?

  • Local governments
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Tribal governments
  • Internet service providers

Members of the general public are allowed to utilize the challenge portal to challenge service availability or service speeds at their location. These entries will be cataloged and submitted by a contracted national non-profit organization on their behalf.

Multiple webinars and trainings for eligible challengers and rebutters will teach them how to use the state challenge portal to ensure that the status of residential addresses and community anchor institutions are correctly identified in the final project areas. This formal challenge process will help ensure the map is as accurate as possible as we pursue the goals of Washington’s Internet for All initiative. 

Challenge Portal Available for Review

Preview the Broadband Navigator tool. Broadband Navigator is the dedicated challenge portal WSBO uses for eligible challengers to participate in the state challenge process for the BEAD program. Eligible challengers may request an account in the “sign in” area. All users, including the general public, may use the tool to view the status of broadband serviceable locations (BSLs) throughout the state. Additionally, the general public can submit speed tests and availability information through this portal during the challenge process. The challenge phase opens on April 15 and concludes on May 14.

Challenge Portal Location Service Levels

The following CSV files contain the location ids for each location within the Broadband Navigator based off their service level. Users will need to have a CostQuest or NTIA Tier D/E license to utilize these files.

Challenge Portal Support Documentation

Social Media Tools

We created social media tools so our partners can share the challenge process opportunity with others through their various communications channels. Please share these tools with your partners so they can use them until the challenge submission deadline on May 14. 

Access our social media tool kit.


Washington’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program (BEAD) Initial Proposal Volume I

Review the Initial Proposal Volume I document (PDF). Volume I includes the outline for the state’s challenge process.

Building upon ongoing digital inclusion efforts, extensive public engagement efforts, and insight from local and tribal governments in Washington. Volume I contains information from four of 20 Initial Proposal requirements.

Take the challenge process survey for respondents

Please take the challenge process survey. It will help the Washington State Broadband Office (WSBO) identify those in your community who may participate in the BEAD Challenge Process as respondents to challenges. Accurate contact information for respondents is crucial to ensuring we can deliver information as quickly as possible.

Challenge Process Licensing

For eligible challengers who anticipate participating in the state challenge process, resources should be prepared as early as possible. One helpful resource is FCC fabric data. This data is only available with a license provided by the National Telecommunications Industry Association (NTIA) through CostQuest Associates.

Getting an NTIA license – for BEAD program participants

In order to ensure adequate time to process requests, prospective BEAD Program participants must request an NTIA license as early as possible. There is no cost to request and receive license, but the process takes time. Below are important links and information you will need to know to proceed:

Eligible challengers must qualify for a specific type of license to access the FCC Fabric data and engage in the BEAD challenge process. Only participants with these licenses can view and analyze this essential FCC coverage data for challenges – our state challenge portal can provide only limited data.

The specific licenses are NTIA Tier D or NTIA Tier E licenses.

  • Tier D License: ISPs are generally the entities that qualify for a Tier D license. To receive one, an entity must have a reporting requirement (such as U.S. Treasury Capital Projects Fund) and/or a plan to participate in the BEAD sub-granting process.
  • Tier E License: Tier E licenses are for entities that don’t meet the Tier D reporting and sub-granting requirements. Most community anchor institutions, non-profits, and local and Tribal governments fall into this category. This licensing process requires some additional steps.

The potential license recipient must coordinate with the WSBO, CostQuest and National Telecommunications Industry Association (NTIA). NTIA requires this coordination to ensure that every license recipient participates in the challenge process.

Important documents and links

For more information on which license you may need, please review the CostQuest Associates NTIA Licensing FAQ (PDF)

Get more information on completing an application and make your license request using these websites:

Tier D
Tier E

Additional Resources


If you have questions about the project or would like to share comments and feedback, please contact us at InternetforAll@Commerce.wa.gov.


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