FCC Revises Eligible Area List for RDOF Auction

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The FCC updated its list of eligible areas for the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction slated to begin in October. The list shows 5,392,530 unserved locations are considered eligible for bidding in the $16 billion auction.

The new record updates the previous list from March that was followed by a challenge process.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called the time-frame to prepare for the fall auction “ambitious” and said the agency is on track to begin the auction October 29. The new list gives companies the information they need to prepare as the Commission moves toward opening the window on July 1 for bidders to file their applications. More challenge information is available here.  

In the challenge process, the agency gave parties a chance to identify by April 10, 2020, census blocks that fell into one of three categories: (1) census blocks that have become served with voice and 25/3 Mbps broadband service since June 30, 2019; (2) census blocks that have been awarded funding by a federal or state broadband subsidy to offer broadband service at 25/3 Mbps or better and for which funding has already been paid or committed; and (3) census blocks within a rate-of-return carrier’s service area where it does not expect to extend broadband in satisfaction of its universal service deployment obligations.

Among other decisions, the agency denied challenges filed by Frontier Communications, FDF Communications, and other companies like Inland Telephone Company, Northwest Fiber and Edge Broadband that sought to exclude areas from the auction. The FCC granted Charter Communications’ waiver request to exclude 2,127 census blocks in New York from the eligible areas list because the company will deploy broadband in those locations pursuant to a settlement reached with the State of New York. The Commission also granted most of the challenges that FCC Form 477 filers submitted identifying census blocks that started receiving voice and 25/3 Mbps or better broadband service since June 30, 2019. 

The final list of eligible areas will be released no later than three weeks prior to the October 29 bidding start date. Commission staff will scrutinize auction applications to ensure all applicants are proposing to use technologies that will be successful in providing mass market retail broadband to consumers to ensure taxpayer funding is not wasted. 

The state-by-state list of updated eligible locations is below: 

  • Alabama 202,369
  • Arizona 131,949
  • Arkansas 201,944
  • California 425,533
  • Colorado 78,397
  • Connecticut 3,281
  • Delaware 7,757
  • Florida 147,162
  • Georgia 184,019
  • Hawaii 8,081
  • Idaho 40,921
  • Illinois 166,777
  • Indiana 162,980
  • Iowa 55,017
  • Kansas 46,827
  • Kentucky 99,315
  • Louisiana 176,951
  • Maine 27,967
  • Maryland 40,406
  • Massachusetts 29,491
  • Michigan 253,386
  • Minnesota 148,718
  • Mississippi 221,685
  • Missouri 200,336
  • Montana 46,156
  • Nebraska 43,445
  • Nevada 31,623
  • New Hampshire 18,243
  • New Jersey 11,933
  • New Mexico 64,978
  • New York 47,024
  • North Carolina 163,277
  • North Dakota 3,025
  • Ohio 191,832
  • Oklahoma 127,081
  • Oregon 82,659
  • Pennsylvania 190,325
  • Rhode Island 3,428
  • South Carolina 109,301
  • South Dakota 10,738
  • Tennessee 169,750

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