The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced that it is ready to authorise more than USD640 million through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to fund new broadband deployments in 26 states, which will bring service to nearly 250,000 locations. TeleGeography notes that the majority of the companies that will receive funding at this stage are smaller regional operators, although the likes of Windstream, Frontier Communications and Atlantic Broadband are all on the FCC’s list of winning bidders.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the RDOF Phase I auction (Auction 904) commenced on 29 October 2020, having attracted a total of 386 qualified bidders. In the event, the regulator awarded a total of USD9.2 billion in funding to 180 bidders. A total of 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses – around 99% of the locations included in the auction – will gain access to high speed internet services as a result. This includes rural Americans in 49 states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
To date, the FCC says that the RDOF programme has provided USD4.7 billion in funding to nearly 300 ISPs for new deployments in 47 states, extending broadband to almost 2.7 million locations.