Today's Regulatory Mix: FCC Announces Qualified Bidders for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction, USDA Announces Broadband Grants In Iowa, Alaska, and Illinois
FCC Announces Qualified Bidders for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
The FCC announced that 386 applicants are qualified to bid in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction. The number of qualified bidders represents a more than 75% increase in the number of bidders in 2018’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction and also includes bidding consortia that contain multiple service providers. Qualified bidders will compete to receive up to $16 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.
“With today’s announcement, we are taking one of the last steps before ringing the opening bell for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, our biggest and boldest step yet to bridge the digital divide for over 10 million unserved consumers across rural America,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “The unprecedented interest in this auction is due in large part to key decisions by the FCC, including providing substantial funding and promoting technological neutrality toward potential bidding participants, as well as our staff’s extensive work to spread awareness of the program and ensure the broadest participation in a competitive auction that will deliver real benefits to rural Americans across the country.”
A Public Notice provides important information to qualified bidders regarding the Auction 904 bidding system, available educational materials, the mock auction, and the start of bidding in Auction 904. It also reminds applicants of certain continuing obligations associated with their application.
USDA Announces Broadband Grants In Iowa, Alaska, and Illinois
The USDA announced over $98 million in new ReConnect broadband funding in three states.
In Iowa, South Slope Cooperative Telephone Company will use a $2.7 million ReConnect grant and a $2.7 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,984 people, 147 farms and 26 businesses to high-speed broadband internet in Iowa and Johnson counties in Iowa.
In Alaska, (1) AP&T Wireless Inc. will use a $21.5 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 225 people, 32 businesses, an educational facility, a post office and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area, Alaska; and (2) Unicom Inc. will use a $25 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 7,441 people, 310 businesses, 10 educational facilities, seven post offices, four fire stations and a city hall to high-speed broadband internet in Kodiak Island Borough, Lake and Peninsula Borough, Aleutians East Borough and Aleutians West Census Area in Alaska.
In Illinois, (1) Hamilton County Telephone Co-op will use a $20 million ReConnect grant and a $20 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 19,749 people, 462 businesses, 347 farms, 16 educational facilities, three post offices and four fire stations to high-speed broadband internet in Saline, Williamson, Franklin and White counties in Illinois; and (2) Flat Rock Telephone Co-op Inc. will use a $3.2 million ReConnect grant and a $3.2 million ReConnect loan to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to connect 1,460 people, 50 farms, 13 businesses and a fire station to high-speed broadband internet in Crawford and Lawrence counties in Illinois.
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The Regulatory Mix, Inteserra’s blog of telecom related regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of an Inteserra Briefing.