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FCC Expands Rural Broadband With $121 Billion in Funding

FCC Authorizes $121 Million in Funding for Rural Broadband

Fourth Round of Funding from Connect America Fund Auction Starts This Month and Includes 16 States

The Federal Communications Commission today authorized over $121 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 36,579 unserved rural homes and businesses in 16 states, representing the fourth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Providers will begin receiving funding later this month.

“As we continue to authorize funds to expand broadband in rural America, I am excited to see the benefits for rural residents who live all across the country, from Tribal lands in Wyoming to mountain communities in Appalachia, from the Great Plains to the Pacific Northwest, and from the Texas Panhandle to northern Minnesota,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “This round of funding is yet another step toward closing the digital divide, providing access to digital opportunity to over 36,000 more unserved rural homes and businesses.”

In total, the auction last year allocated $1.488 billion in support to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses over the next 10 years. The FCC has already authorized three waves of funding in May, June, and July. Today’s action brings total authorized funding to over $924 million, expanding connectivity to 342,097 homes and businesses; additional rounds will be authorized in the coming months.

Funding applications approved by the Commission today include the following:

  • Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries, which is owned by the Northern Arapaho Tribe, is receiving $4.1 million to deploy service to 849 homes and businesses on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, all of which will get access to service delivering Gigabit speeds
  • Tri-Co Connections is receiving $32.3 million to deploy Gigabit service to over 7,015 homes and businesses in rural Pennsylvania over its fiber network
  • Midcontinent Communications is receiving $39 million to deploy service to 9,371 homes and businesses in rural Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, all of which will get service delivering speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream
  • Citynet West Virginia will receive $6.5 million over the next decade to deliver Gigabit service over its fiber network to 898 homes and businesses in rural West Virginia

Below is a complete list by state of the companies receiving support, the number of homes and businesses served (locations), the amount of support over 10 years, and the minimum download/upload speeds to be provided: 

State

Company

Minimum Speed

Support/10 Years

Number of
Locations

Arkansas

3E8 Broadband Solutions

25/3 Mbps

$3,621,847

129

Arkansas

3E8 Broadband Solutions

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

*

682

Illinois

Wabash Independent Networks

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$359,430

261

Indiana

Marshall County Fiber

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$1,326,394

1,203

Maryland

Declaration Networks Group

25/3 Mbps

$2,880,040

2,454

Minnesota

Halstad Telephone Company

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$19,635

7

Minnesota

Jaguar Communication

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$510,588

672

Minnesota

Midcontinent Communications

100/20 Mbps

$27,977,284

7,410

Missouri

Air Link Rural Broadband

100/20 Mbps

$11,371,438

2,321

Missouri

Barry Technology Services

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$6,103,454

2,308

New Mexico

Plains Internet

100/20 Mbps

$2,582,772

509

North Dakota

Midcontinent Communications

100/20 Mbps

$6,044,447

1,069

Oklahoma

Cim Tel Cable

100/20 Mbps

$1,869,392

386

Oklahoma

Cim Tel Cable

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

*

24

Oklahoma

Cross Cable Television

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$80,156

47

Oklahoma

Cross Wireless

100/20 Mbps

$827,394

210

Oklahoma

Plains Internet

100/20 Mbps

$1,770,537

3,194

Pennsylvania

Tri-Co Connections

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$32,326,228

7,015

South Dakota

Midcontinent Communications

100/20 Mbps

$4,880,611

892

Tennessee

Ben Lomand Communications

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$333,797

171

Texas

Plains Internet

100/20 Mbps

$1,799,731

939

Washington

Declaration Networks Group

25/3 Mbps

$3,904,100

2,929

West Virginia

Citynet West Virginia

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$6,517,708

898

Wyoming

Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries

1 Gbps/500 Mbps

$4,070,664

849

TOTAL



$121,177,649

36,579




* Dollar amount included in total for company


The Connect America Fund Phase II auction is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America. On August 1, the FCC proposed taking its biggest single step to date toward closing the rural digital divide by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas

Providers must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years. Buildout must increase by 20% in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

Source: FCC media announcement

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