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$20.4 Billion Available for Rural Broadband Expansion, First Deadline Approaching for Providers to Apply

Lansing, MI. (July 6, 2020) – Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have less than two weeks to complete a short form application to qualify for Phase 1 of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction.  The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its call for short form applications on July 1; the deadline for those applications is Wednesday, July 15.

“Up to $16 billion is available in this first phase. The time for providers to act is now so they can get the financial help they need to expand their services,” said Eric Frederick, Executive Director, Connected Nation Michigan (CN Michigan). “Our work as a nonprofit is focused on helping as many people as possible get the access they need to the resources high-speed internet affords. That means we want to encourage providers to take advantage of this funding as they seek to connect those living in rural areas—and look for ways to support them as they find innovative solutions for connecting more American homes and businesses.”

According to the FCC’s website, the agency is awarding up to $20.4 billion over ten years. The majority of that ($16 billion) will be made available in Phase I (the current phase) of the RDOF auction. The remaining $4.4 billion will be awarded in Phase II of the auction. To be eligible for the funds, ISPs must focus on rural areas that do not have voice or broadband access with speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.

“In Phase I, the agency is targeting six million homes and businesses that are unserved as determined by the FCC’s broadband coverage maps. While the current data collection shows coverage at the census block level, in Phase II, the remaining funds will be expended to help areas that have only partial broadband access according to a new, more granular data collection,” explained Ashley Hitt, Director, GIS Services, Connected Nation (CN).

There will be a two-stage application process in each phase—a short-form and a long-form application. No provider can move onto the second form unless they submit the first by the July 15deadline. Head here for details on how to apply for the funds:

For more facts about eligibility, deployment regulations, technological service tiers and more, head to the FCC’s Fact Sheet page here:

Jessica Denson, Communications Director
Connected Nation

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About Connected Nation: Our mission is to improve lives by providing innovative solutions that expand access to and increase the adoption and use of broadband (high-speed internet) and its related technologies for all people. Everyone belongs in a Connected Nation.

Connected Nation works with consumers, local community leaders, states, technology providers, and foundations to develop and implement technology expansion programs with core competencies centered on a mission to improve digital inclusion for people and places previously underserved or overlooked. For more information, please visit: and follow Connected Nation on Facebook and Twitter.