FCC: Over $640 Million for Rural Broadband in 26 States via Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

The FCC has announced that over $640 million of funding will be made available through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The investment will be used for new broadband deployments in 26 states and will cover nearly 250,000 locations.

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund has already provided over $4.7B in Broadband funding for nearly 300 carriers in 47 states serving over 2.6M U.S. locations.

On January 30, 2020, the Commission adopted the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Report and Order, which establishes the framework for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, building on the success of the CAF Phase II auction by using reverse auctions in two phases.  The Phase I auction, which began on October 29, 2020, and ended on November 25, 2020, awarded support to bring broadband to over five million homes and businesses in census blocks that were entirely unserved by voice and broadband with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps.  Phase II will cover locations in census blocks that are partially served, as well as locations not funded in Phase I.  The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will ensure that networks stand the test of time by prioritizing higher network speeds and lower latency, so that those benefitting from these networks will be able to use tomorrow’s Internet applications as well as today’s.

The FCC’s Chairwoman, Jessica Rosenworcel, commented: “[This] funding will help connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to high-speed, broadband internet service. As we approve this funding, we remain committed to making sure that this program serves areas that truly need broadband and funds carriers that can do the job, and our new Rural Broadband Accountability Plan will ensure just that.”
Resolving the rural digital divide in the U.S. is a key focus for the FCC under Chairwoman Rosenworcel.
Earlier this year, the FCC established the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan (RBAP) in a bid to monitor compliance more effectively for universal service programmes such as the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The RBAP made a series of changes and improvements to the FCC’s existing audit and verification procedures.
A fact sheet on the RBAP is available here.
The FCC also announced a number of defaulted bids, making the census blocks in those defaulted bids potentially eligible for other funding programs. A list of the eligible census blocks covered by defaulted bids is available on the Auction 904 website under the “Results” tab.
Other steps to strengthen oversight of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program include:
  • Sending letters to 197 applicants concerning areas where there was evidence of existing service or questions of waste. Bidders have already chosen not to pursue support in approximately 5,000 census blocks in response to the Commission’s letters.
  • Denying waivers for winning bidders that have not made appropriate efforts to secure state approvals or prosecute their applications. These bidders would have otherwise received approximately $350 million.
  • Conducting an exhaustive technical, financial, and legal review of all winning bidders.
  • A list of the eligible census blocks covered by the winning bids announced today is available under the “Results” tab.
  • For a list of RDOF providers and funding amounts by state is at:  https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904.

March 25th Update:

The FCC has authorized more than $313 million through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to finance new broadband deployments in 19 states bringing service to over 130,000 locations. This is the eighth round of funding in the program, which to date has provided over $5 billion in funding for new deployments in 47 states to bring broadband to over 2.8 million locations.

“The funding announced today will help hundreds of thousands of Americans get access to high-speed, reliable broadband service,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “We continue our expanded oversight of this program through the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan to make sure that applicants deliver services as promised to areas that truly need help.”

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund aims to fund new broadband deployments in areas across the U.S. with limited or no connectivity.

The winning bidders from the latest round are:

  • Carolina Telephone and Telegraph
  • Central Telephone Company of Virginia
  • Central Virginia Services
  • CenturyLink of Louisiana
  • CenturyTel of Alabama
  • CenturyTel of Michigan
  • CenturyTel of Montana
  • CenturyTel of Northwest Arkansas
  • CenturyTel of the Midwest – Wisconsin
  • CenturyTel of Washington
  • Co-Mo Comm
  • Columbia Fiber
  • Embarq Florida
  • Jasper County Rural Electric Membership Corporation
  • LigTel Communications
  • OzarksGo
  • Qwest Corporation
  • South Central ConnectSpectra Communications Group
  • Tri-County Electric Cooperative

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-313-million-through-rural-digital-opportunity-fund

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References:

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-announces-over-640-million-rural-broadband-26-states

https://www.totaltele.com/512752/FCC-announces-640-funding-for-rural-broadband-deployment

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-creates-ruralbroadband-accountability-plan

https://www.emarketer.com/content/fcc-announces-1-2b-rural-broadband-fund-32-states

https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904

https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-auction-bring-broadband-over-10-million-rural-americans

 

One thought on “FCC: Over $640 Million for Rural Broadband in 26 States via Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

  1. There are many people who are using 4G/5G wireless networks for broadband internet access. Thanks for sharing this data and updates. It is necessary for rural telcos to understand what kind of rural broadband is needed to develop the rural areas. Let’s hope they do that correctly.

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