Wrapping up weeks of negotiation with telecom industry representatives, public interest groups and officials of state government, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) revised its rules last Friday under which carriers will be required to provide geographic, transmission speed, and other data needed to produce a national map that will help consumers and regulators assess broadband service availability for any given area. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), Congress allocated up to $350 million in stimulus funding for the development of a “comprehensive nationwide inventory map of existing broadband service capability and availability in the United States.” In addition to assisting with the distribution of $7.6 billion in ARRA funds earmarked for broadband expansion, NTIA will be awarding grants to entities in each state that will gather data for the broadband mapping project. Objecting to rules that require carriers to supply specific service speeds and other information for every address they serve, various phone, cable and wireless interests warned NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling that the agency’s methodology would result in a “high likelihood of error” and would also expose to competitors information that is considered proprietary. In response to these concerns, NTIA said Friday that carriers would be required to collect data by census block for areas two square miles or smaller in diameter or by address ranges within each census block for larger areas. Carriers must also supply information on their advertised transmission speeds for each census block instead of actual download speeds as originally proposed. Predicting that the revised rules will expedite the mapping effort, Strickling also asserted that the changes “will improve the accuracy of the national broadband map.” U.S. Telecom Association vice president Glenn Reynolds agreed, declaring that the new requirements will “facilitate the accurate and timely completion of the broadband map; without risking the release of sensitive data.”