Optical/IP Networks

FCC releases another wave of RDOF cash

The Federal Communications Commission this week said it's ready to authorize another $163.89 million to 42 providers serving parts of 21 states in the second round of funding being funneled through phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

This week's authorization follows an original release in July that authorized about $311 million in broadband funding across 36 states, bringing total authorizations to about $475 million. Combined, that's still a small portion of the $9.2 billion that was originally allocated for phase I of the RDOF auction announced in late 2020.

Applicants covered in this second round of authorization include the following:

Table 1: RDOF Phase I: Ready to Authorize Long-Form Applicants and Winning Bids

Alliance Communications Cooperative (South Dakota) Aptitude Internet (Missouri) Arkansas Rural Internet (Arkansas) Arrowhead Electric Communications (Minnesota)
Bandara Electric Cooperative (Texas) Barry Techolgoy Services (Missouri) Ben Lomand Communications (Tennessee) Castle Cable TV (New York
Cellular Services (Kentucky Cherry Capital Connection (Michigan) ComTel Cable (Oklahoma) Citynet West Virginia (West Virginia)
Coleman County Telephone Cooperative (Texas) Consolidated Telephone Company (Minnesota) Cross Cable Television (Oklahoma) Cuba City Telephone Exchange (Wisconsin)
Custer Telephone Broadband (Idaho) Federated Telephone Cooperative (Minnesota) Foursight Communications (Tennessee) Garden Valley Telephone (Minnesota)
Guthrie Telecommunications Network (Iowa) Hamilton Long Distance Company (Nebraska) Home Communications (Kansas) La Valle Telephone Cooperative (Wisconsin)
LR Communications (Kansas) Mediapolis Telephone Company (Iowa) Mountain View Telephone Company (Arkansas) North Central Communications (Kentucky)
Paul Bunyan Rural Telephone Cooperative (Minnesota) Polar Telecom (North Dakota Reservation Telephone Company (North Dakota) Sandhill Connextions (South Carolina)
Savage Communications (Minnesota) Scott County Telephone Cooperative (Tennessee and Virginia) SEI Data Inc./SEI Communications (Indiana) SW DinehNet (New Mexico)
Twin Lakes Communications (Tennessee) Valley Telecommunications Cooperative Association (South Dakota) Winnebago Cooperative Telecom Association (Iowa and Minnesota) Yucca Telecommunications Systems (New Mexico)
Source: FCC.

The FCC also said it's pushing ahead with a "clean up" initiative designed to ensure that RDOF funds go to unserved areas in need of broadband. That process included letters sent in July to almost 200 RDOF winners that flagged census blocks that already appear to have broadband coverage, and asked those applicants to review their bids. As a result, the FCC noted that 85 winning bidders have chosen not to pursue buildout in 5,089 census blocks.

Census blocks originally bid for and won by LTD Broadband led the way by a large margin. Examples of others on that list for certain census blocks include Armstrong Telecommunications, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Cable One, Midcontinent Communications and Windstream.

The full preliminary list of others that also bid for and won for certain auction blocks that are subject to default in response to the FCC's July 26 letter is posted here.

"More help is on the way to households without broadband," FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement. "This is an important program for getting more Americans connected to high-speed Internet, and we are continuing careful oversight of this process to ensure that providers meet their obligations to deploy in areas that need it."

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

A version of this story first appeared on Broadband World News.

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