The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be making significant investments in rural broadband projects in the coming years. FCC recently announced that $9.2 billion in awards will be dispersed as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. A total of 180 companies have been selected to implement rural broadband projects in underserved areas. The winning bidders will be deploying high-speed broadband to more than 5.2 million homes and businesses. The funding support will be distributed over the next 10 years.
“I’m thrilled with the incredible success of this auction, which brings welcome news to millions of unconnected rural Americans who for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide. They now stand to gain access to high-speed, high-quality broadband service,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release. “This auction was the single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide and is another key success for the Commission in its ongoing commitment to universal service.”
At more than 1.05 million, CCO Holdings, LLC (Charter Communications) was assigned the most locations. There were 15 winning bidders in California who will receive a total of more than $695 million in support to serve more than 364,000 locations. The funding that was not allocated during the Phase I auction will be rolled over into the Phase II auction, with a budget of up to $11.2 billion.
“Our nation’s farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers cannot continue to be overlooked when it comes to expanding the benefits of connectivity. Fortunately, the FCC this week delivered on an important promise to continue expanding access to broadband connectivity in America’s rural communities across 49 states,” said Rural & Agriculture Council of America President Jack Alexander. “The completion of the RDOF Phase I auction demonstrates that there is significant momentum behind the FCC’s efforts to close the digital divide. We thank the FCC for helping to ensure that high-speed, affordable internet access will continue to be extended further into rural communities to reach those that need it most.”