The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has confirmed that 386 applicants are qualified to bid in its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction (Auction 904). The number of qualified bidders represents a more than 75% increase in the number of bidders in 2018’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction and also includes bidding consortia that contain multiple service providers. Successful bidders will compete to receive up to USD16 billion over ten years to provide broadband to wholly unserved areas, with priority given to bids for higher speeds (up to 1 Gbps) and lower latency.
While smaller regional telcos dominate the list, notable bidders include: Altice USA, Atlantic Broadband, CenturyLink, Cincinnati Bell, Consolidated Communications, Cox Communications, DOCOMO Pacific, Frontier Communications, Mediacom Communications, Midcontinent Communications, US Cellular, Verizon Communications and Windstream.
Bidding is scheduled to begin on Thursday 29 October 2020.