FCC Picks 180 Companies for $9.2B Rural Broadband Rollout Initiative

The Federal Communications Commission has selected 180 companies to receive $9.2B in federal subsidies to implement broadband networks in unserved areas across the U.S. and the Northern Mariana Islands as part of the agency's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program.

FCC said Monday the awards fall under the first phase of a potential $16B auction initiative aimed at deploying high-speed internet services to more than 5.2M business establishments and households over a 10-year period.

Satellite companies, cable operators, telecommunications providers and electric cooperatives that won in the Phase I auction must comply with requirements for rapid periodic buildouts and reach assigned deployment locations by the end of the program's sixth year, according to the agency.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Charter Communications received the largest number of location assignments at more than 1M. SpaceX, which aims to build a constellation of internet satellites, secured $885.5M in support funds to provide connectivity service to more than 640K locations.

The agency noted it will allocate the remaining $6.8B for Phase II auction that will focus on “partially-served” areas and looks to funnel up to $11.2B for the second phase to support additional unserved locations that did not secure funding.

Phase I awards came after FCC established a potential 10-year, $9B 5G Fund for Rural America.

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