The Commission believes about 6 million rural homes and businesses could be eligible for bidding in an auction slated for later this year to receive funding for high-speed broadband. The FCC plans to vote later this month on launching Phase I of the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. The account would target areas that lack access to 25/3 Mbps broadband services in two stages.
The agency staff’s initial estimate shows that in 25 states there would be more than 100,000 locations eligible for Phase I of the auction. California tops the list with 421,000 locations with Illinois next at 256,000 locations.
This state-by-state list is for Phase I funding, which would target a total of $16 billion to census blocks with no broadband service meeting the Commission’s minimum speed standards. The remainder would be disbursed during Phase II.
For Phase II, the agency would use its new granular broadband mapping approach, called the Digital Opportunity Data Collection, to target unserved households in areas that are partially served by such broadband. These are areas where some households have access to 25/3 Mbps service but others do not. Phase II would also include areas that do not receive winning bids in Phase I.