7. Section 106(h)(2) of the BDIA imposes certain confidentiality requirements on eligible entities that receive the FCC Form 477 "aggregate data." Section 106(b) of the BDIA sets forth the primary role for eligible entities through the establishment of a State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (Program), which requires the Secretary of Commerce to award grants "to eligible entities for the development and implementation of statewide initiatives to identify and track the availability and adoption of broadband services within each State." Section 106(e) identifies ten activities to be funded through the Program, which include the creation within each State of a geographic inventory map of broadband service availability. On July 2, 2009, NTIA released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), 74 FR 32545, on funding this program, which defined several key terms for the purposes of the state broadband program. The NOFA defines "broadband" to include data-transmission technology with advertised speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to end users. An "area," consisting of "one or more contiguous census blocks," is considered to be an "underserved area" if at least one of three factors is met: (1) 50% or fewer households in the area have access to facilities-based terrestrial broadband service, (2) no fixed or mobile broadband service provider advertises broadband transmission speeds of at least three Mbps downstream in the area, or (3) the rate of household broadband subscribership in the area does not exceed 40%. An area is "unserved" for purposes of the NOFA if 90% of households in the area lack access to facilities-based terrestrial broadband service. NTIA later issued a clarification of the Technical Appendix to the NOFA, 74 FR 40569, and later provided additional guidance to its implementation of the Program by posting responses to Frequently Asked Questions.
8. On July 17, 2009, the Commission issued a Public Notice seeking comment on how to interpret and implement sections 106(h)(1) and 106(h)(2) of the BDIA. On September 9, 2009, NTIA published a list of the eligible applicants that had filed applications under the Program, from all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. NTIA announced on October 5, 2009, that it had awarded the first four grants under the Program. As of March 5, 2010, NTIA had awarded a total of 54 grants totaling approximately $102 million under the Program.
9. Interpretation of "Aggregate Data" under section 106(h)(1). While the BDIA does not include an explanation for the requirement that the Commission provide "aggregate" Form 477 data to eligible entities, the only mention of eligible entities in the statute is in connection with the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (Program) contemplated by section 106(b). Accordingly, we find the only reasonable interpretation of the requirement to be that Congress intended the Commission to provide aggregate Form 477 data to eligible entities in order to support the activities to be funded through the Program, as identified in section 106(e). This conclusion informs our interpretation of the requirement and the meaning of "aggregate." In this regard, we note that section 106(e) sets forth a range of activities that grants can support, and NTIA has made clear that "[w]ith respect to this Program, NTIA's highest priority is the development and maintenance of a national broadband map."