FCC Authorizes Over $240 Million for Rural Broadband

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The Commission on Thursday authorized more than $240 million in funding over ten years to expand rural broadband deployment in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. These investments will connect more than 100,000 unserved rural homes and businesses. Broadband providers will begin receiving funding later this month.  

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the news another step in the agency’s efforts to close the digital divide. “Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see firsthand how funding provided through the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction is having a positive impact on the Wind River Indian Reservation in rural Wyoming. And the funding we are authorizing today will bring those same benefits and connect more rural Americans with digital opportunity.” 

This represents the ninth wave of support from the 2018 Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Providers must build out to 40 percent of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years. Buildout must increase by 20 percent in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year. Here is a list by state of the companies receiving support, the number of served locations, the amount of support over 10 years, and the minimum download/upload speeds to be provided.

The funding being authorized in New York is the third wave of matching funds provided through the FCC’s partnership with the state’s new broadband program. The FCC has authorized $62.4 million in federal funding through this partnership to connect 45,835 homes and businesses in New York. 

In total, the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction in 2018 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 in 45 states. The FCC has now authorized nine waves of funding, and Friday’s action brings total authorized funding to over $1.4 billion. Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete.

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