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FCC Authorizes Nearly $89.2 Million In Funding For Rural Broadband

The following is press release issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on December 16, 2019

Eighth Round of Funding from Connect America Fund Auction  Starts This Month and Includes 21 States

9wfkwd8i 300x300WASHINGTON, December 16, 2019—The Federal Communications Commission today authorized nearly $89.2 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to more than 123,000 unserved rural homes and businesses across 21 states, representing the eighth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction.  Broadband providers will begin receiving funding later this month.

“Across the nation, we’re continuing to close the digital divide so that all Americans—no matter where they live—have access to affordable broadband connectivity and the digital opportunity it brings,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “And as this eighth round of funding demonstrates, the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction is doing so in a cost-effective way:  Because providers competed for Connect America Fund Auction support, finite universal service dollars reached many more homes and businesses at a much lower cost.”

Among the companies approved for funding by the Commission today is satellite provider Viasat, which is receiving $87.1 million over 10 years to offer service to more than 121,700 remote and rural homes and businesses in 17 states, at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.  In return for this funding, Viasat will be providing service in the supported areas at lower cost to consumers, while also permitting higher usage allowances, than it typically provides in areas where it is not receiving Connect America Fund support.

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 Locations
Alabama Viasat 25/3 Mbps $3,692,935 9,075
Arizona Viasat 25/3 Mbps $129,559 354
California Viasat 25/3 Mbps $13,918,362 18,795
Colorado Viasat 25/3 Mbps $7,231,181 6,517
Florida Viasat 25/3 Mbps $5,032,841 9,859
Georgia Viasat 25/3 Mbps $6,264,362 13,815
Idaho Viasat 25/3 Mbps $4,402,040 3,607
Illinois LTD Broadband 25/3 Mbps $19,462 145
Iowa LTD Broadband 25/3 Mbps $69,516 33
Kentucky Viasat 25/3 Mbps $1,673,145 4,169
Louisiana Viasat 25/3 Mbps $2,873,230 4,427
Maine Viasat 25/3 Mbps $4,713,986 4,098
Minnesota LTD Broadband 25/3 Mbps $1,104,441 840
Montana Viasat 25/3 Mbps $5,180,536 5,342
New Mexico Viasat 25/3 Mbps $3,132,667 3,268
South Carolina Horry Telephone Cooperative 25/3 Mbps $233,490 80
Utah Viasat 25/3 Mbps $3,119,687 2,995
Washington Viasat 25/3 Mbps $7,031,864 10,982
West Virginia Viasat 25/3 Mbps $5,432,056 7,057
Wisconsin Bruce Telephone Company 1 Gbps/500 Mbps $177,933 34
Wisconsin 25/3 Mbps $486,424 175
Wisconsin Viasat 25/3 Mbps $3,963,228 7,565
Wyoming Viasat 25/3 Mbps $9,301,915 9,805
Total $89,184,858 123,037

In total, the Connect America Fund Auction last year allocated $1.488 billion in support over the next ten years to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses nationwide.  The FCC has now authorized eight waves of funding, and today’s action brings total authorized funding to nearly $1.2 billion, which is expanding connectivity to 541,733 homes and businesses nationwide.  Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete.

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.

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.

A map of winning bids in the Auction is available at