FCC announces over $700 million for broadband in 26 states through Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Published 12:50 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

WASHINGTON, November 10, 2021—The FCC today announced that it is ready to authorize $709,060,159 in its fourth round of funding for new broadband deployments through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.  Together with three prior funding wave announcements, the Commission has now announced over $1.7 billion in funding to winning bidders for new deployments.  In this funding wave, 50 broadband providers will bring broadband service to over 400,000 locations in 26 states.

“This latest announcement highlights the agency’s commitment to supporting even more opportunities to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to high-speed, reliable broadband service while doing our due diligence to ensure the applicants can deliver to these unserved communities as promised,” said Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.  “This program can do great things to help expand broadband in our country.”

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The 26 states slated for today’s funding include Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.  The bulk of today’s funding will go to nonprofit rural electric cooperatives to deploy broadband throughout their service areas.

The Commission has been working to clean up the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to ensure that funds go where they are needed and that winning bidders can meet the program’s technical, financial, and legal requirements.  As part of that clean-up process, the Commission has taken a number of actions, including:

  • Sending letters to 197 applicants concerning areas where there was evidence of existing service or questions of waste.  Bidders have already chosen not to pursue support for almost 5,000 census blocks in response to the Commission’s letters.
  • Denying waivers for winning bidders that have not made appropriate efforts to secure state approvals or prosecute their applications.  These bidders would have otherwise received more than $344 million.
  • Publishing a list of areas where providers have defaulted, thereby making those places available for other broadband funding opportunities.
  • Conducting an exhaustive technical, financial, and legal review of all winning bidders.

For a list of providers and funding amounts by state, see https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904.