A Milestone in Expanding Broadband in order to Rural America

Yesterday, the FCC reached a significant milestone in its mission to connect countryside America to robust broadband. Thurs was the deadline for some of the country’s largest phone companies to decide whether or not to accept “Phase II” funds from the FCC’s Connect America Fund in order to expand broadband to their rural clients. All told, ten carriers recognized over $1. 5 billion within annual support to provide broadband in order to nearly 7. 3 million customers in 45 states and the Earth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In exchange for receiving funding for all entitled areas that they serve in a provided state, these providers have devoted to expanding and maintaining broadband support with defined milestones and obligations over a six-year period.

This is great news for these rural communities, where broadband may spark economic development, support education, and provide residents with access to the news, information and cutting-edge Internet programs that are a fact of life in most other parts of the country. The funding that will flow to these areas will go a long way toward closing the electronic divide isolating rural America. And it builds on past Commission decisions that used “Phase I” Link America funding to expand high speed to over 637, 000 homes plus businesses.

The companies didn’t accept the entire offer, although most accepted most, if not all, of theirs. Like some other investments, this was a business decision every company had to make – so that as we expected, some of the companies dropped the offer of support in some states. But that doesn’t mean the particular residents in these communities will be left out. Instead, we’re getting ready to unleash the strength of market competition to provide high speed in these communities.

The FCC will open up the door for other companies, including wire companies, neighboring rate-of-return carriers, electric powered companies, satellite companies and fixed-wireless providers, to compete for the first time with all the price cap carrier incumbents in order to win these subsidies through a market-based auction. Our Rural Broadband Experiments program demonstrated that competitive online auctions can draw interest from a variety of providers willing to provide faster high speed at lower cost, and we now are eager to implement competitive bidding on the larger scale across the country.

We’re excited about the potential these auctions hold for connecting countryside America to broadband. And jooxie is excited about the fact that the 7. three or more million consumers served by the companies that accepted the Connect America Fund offer are on the path to getting better service.

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