FCC Authorizes Nearly $112.2 Million in Funding for Rural Broadband

 

 

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission authorized over $112.2 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to nearly 48,000 unserved rural homes and businesses in nine states, representing the fifth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Broadband providers will begin receiving funding later this month.

“Today, we take another step towards ensuring that all Americans have access to high-speed broadband,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “This fifth round of funding will provide rural Americans from California to Ohio with the economic, educational, civic, and healthcare opportunities that Internet access makes possible.”

In total, the auction last year allocated $1.488 billion in support over the next ten years to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses nationwide. The FCC has now authorized five waves of funding, and today’s action brings total authorized funding to over $1 billion, which will expand connectivity to nearly 388,000 homes and businesses nationwide.  Additional rounds will be authorized in the coming months.

Funding applications approved by the Commission today include the following:

  • Cal.net, Inc., is receiving over $50.5 million over 10 years to deploy service to 20,859 homes and businesses in California, most of which will get access to service delivering speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream, using fixed wireless technology
  • W.A.T.C.H TV is receiving nearly $53.4 million over 10 years to deploy service to 23,957 rural homes and businesses in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, most of which will get access to service delivering speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream, using fixed wireless technology
  • Four rural phone companies are receiving $1.8 million to offer gigabit-speed fiber service to 536 rural homes and businesses in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

The Connect America Fund Phase II auction is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America. On August 1, the FCC proposed taking its biggest single step to date toward closing the rural digital divide by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas.

 Providers must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years. Buildout must increase by 20% in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

More information on the auction is available at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/903. A map of winning bids is available at https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/caf2-auction903-results/.

 

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