FCC Funds Broadband Companies to Build Internet Infrastructure in Rural Communities

infrastructure, internet access


Over 1.7 millions people in the country side areas will soon be able to enjoy internet access after a successful auction organized by the Federal Communications Commission. More than half of the rural population will get to access to high speed internet with download speed of 100 mbps. At least 19% of them will be able to access gigabit connection. The rest will enjoy an internet connection speed of at least 25 mbps.

FCC chairman, Ajit Pai told the press that he has always been trying to improve the broadband service for rural area. He said he is motivated by the people he saw in the rural communities who always try to use internet to help others. He hope that many people will choose to stay back in the rural community and not move away since they are now providing broadband access. It is the goal of FCC that everyone in rural regions can access a decent speed internet at home in the next 10 years.

The agency created the auction 2 years ago calling out to providers to start offering internet broadband services to customers in the rural areas. The auction was officially started nearly 2 months ago on the 24th July. Universal Service Fund is the company that contributed the two billions dollars to the Connect America Fund for subsidizing the broadband companies interested in building the infrastructure. About $1.5 billions of the fund has been allocated to 103 providers. The cost is enough for covering the broadband for about 10 years.

There are 3 companies that will receive a combined funding of $12 millions. The first company is Viasat who received $5.43 millions as subsidy for building the infrastructure in West Virginia. Viasat also receive other funding that total up to $122.5 millions which makes it the largest auction beneficiary. Viasat’s minimum internet standard is 25 mbps download speed.

The second company is Citynet who received $6.51 million as funding for carrying out the work on 898 locations. The third company is Hardy Telecommunications who receives $47,435 for setting up an infrastructure with gigabit connection in Hampshire County. Hardy Telecommunications offers internet in the gigabit performance, which is the highest standard in the performance tier. No funding is provided for Frontier to carry out the work in West Virginia.

The auction was participated by over 220 companies and has 103 winning bidders. The winning bidders will constructing infrastructure in the rural area of the 45 states to connect the residents their to internet. The priority is given to bidders who is able to offer internet services with high speed, low latency and generous bandwidth. There is no restriction on the type of technology the bidder uses to build the infrastructure.

Winning bidders are required to submit long form application that explain how they will plan to use the fund. They will only receive the funding following the approval of their long form applications. The building of the infrastructure must be completed by the 6th year. The FCC will soon launch another auction called Mobility Fund Phase II auction to increase the coverage of 4G LTE in rural areas.

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