The FCC authorized over $7.5 million in funding over ten years to expand rural broadband in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, and Oklahoma last week. These investments will connect over 3,100 unserved rural homes and businesses. Providers will begin receiving the money later this month.
The funding represents the 12th 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 the project is complete at the end of the sixth year. The funding being authorized in New York is the fourth wave of matching funds provided through the FCC’s partnership with the state’s New NY Broadband Program.
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. Last week’s action brings total authorized funding to over $1.444 billion, which is expanding connectivity to 632,420 homes and businesses nationwide. Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete.
The Connect America Fund Phase II Auction is part of a broader effort by the Commission to close the digital divide. In January, the agency established the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas.