Challenge 22.2 – Predicting Eligibility for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program
Customers of TracFone Wireless, Inc. draw from diverse and vibrant backgrounds. For example, they may be proudly pragmatic who appreciate good value mobile service plans. Alternatively, they may be travelers that are temporarily visiting friends or family or forming new memories on their vacation to take home with them. They may even belong to financially fragile communities that have traditionally been under served by the large wireless providers that required credit checks and long-term contracts. Ever since our inception in 1996, our focus has always been on providing Coverage & Access For All.
TracFone was a pioneer in the USA market to offer mobile phones and plans without extensive credit requirements, making smartphones accessible to a wider part of the community.
The USA Emergency Broadband Benefit Program provides support for broadband services and certain devices to help low-income households stay connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On December 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 became law and established an Emergency Broadband Connectivity Fund of $3.2 billion in the United States Treasury to help Americans afford internet service during the pandemic. The Act directed the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to use the fund to establish an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB Program), under which eligible low-income households may receive a discount off the cost of broadband service and certain connected devices, and participating providers can receive a reimbursement for such discounts.
The FCC adopted the rules and policies creating and governing the EBB Program on February 25, 2021. The Commission’s Wireline Competition Bureau, other Commission staff and the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) are overseeing and administering the processes and systems needed for the EBB Program.
The Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) Program will provide a discount of up to $50 per month for broadband services for eligible consumers. Consumers who live on qualifying Tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $75 per month toward broadband services.
Many Tracfone customers signed up for and currently benefit from the EBB program, by receiving discounts and enhanced support. However, many more are either unaware or uninformed of the fact that they might qualify and benefit for the EBB program. This challenge has a strong social value, as it is aimed at discovering TracFone customers who would qualify for the program, but, they are currently still paying full price for their phone/broadband service.
The 22.2 challenge is to use machine learning to predict customers who can qualify for the EBB program. It is a one class classification problem. Two data sets will be provided: EBB, and a mixed set EBB and non-EBB.
If we can accurately predict which customers qualify for EBB but they are not currently using it, we can proactively help those customers taking advantage of the program. This is a great social initiative to help low-income or no-income households stay connected in line with TracFone’s mission of Coverage & Access For All!
Who can join in?
TracHack 22.2 participants will be students from University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) and University of Navarra (Pamplona, Spain).
When & where?
TracHack 22.2 is an online competition. The data for the competition is released March 28, 2022 and and ends April 17, 2022 at 11:59 pm US Eastern Time.
How are the winners selected?
Teams are welcome to make as many submissions along the way, and the accuracy of solution will be evaluated based on F1 score. The winners of the challenge will be announced based on the ranking from the final submission. That means your team needs to ensure your final submission is the best solution that you come up with during the three-week period.
The top three teams with the highest F1 score will win cash prizes, fame and glory. Even though the final ranking is based on the final submission, it is a good idea to validate the approach and solution along the way using regular submissions as checkpoints.
What technologies can I use?
TracHack 22.2 solutions must be built using Python3. TracFone will provide a dedicated environment with Python3 and Jupyter, dedicated for each team. Teams will access data, build their solutions and submit their predictions via that dedicated environment. So it is important for you to get familiar with it and set it up once your team signs up and gets the relevant details. Keep in mind that the winning teams will have to submit the code that produced their winning solution once the winners are announced for verification prior to the awards.
Where is the data?
The data will be released on March 28 accessible from within that environment. Teams may not download part or all of the data locally. Teams downloading the data outside that environment will be disqualified from the competition. All data and code developed by the teams must remain in the team’s environment.
How do I submit my solution?
What happens when my team wins?
You win fame, glory and bragging rights. There are also cash prizes for the teams to go with trophies:
1st place team: $3,000
2nd place team: $2,000
3rd place team: $1,000
The winning teams will be required to make a 5-minute presentation at the award ceremony that describes their solution and how they tackled this problem.
How do I get started?
- Understand the Rules and consult the FAQ.
- Join a team (if not already) – Check with Dr. Gelareh Mohammadi (University of New South Wales) or Ivan Cordon Medrano (University of Navarra).
- Sign an NDA on data usage – If you are part of a signed up team you would have gotten a DocuSign email.
- Ensure you are set up to access your team’s dedicated Python development environment. – Check your emails for setup and login instructions once you have signed the NDA.
- Set up to make your Submissions.
|March 4, 2022||TracHack 22.2 Problem Announced|
|March 28, 2022||TracHack 22.2 Data Released|
|April 17, 2022 – 11:59pm US ET||Deadline for Final Submission|
|April 22, 2022 – 7:00am US ET||Awards & Presentations|
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at TracHackAdmin@tracfone.com. Once your team is registered you’ll be invited to a Microsoft Teams Channel.