On August 20, larger (“price cap”) local telephone companies began making commitments to the FCC to build out fixed broadband service to thousands of homes and businesses that do not have access to broadband service today. These commitments are part of the Phase I of the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF), which offers one-time, per-location payments to these providers to upgrade their networks. All told, more than 600,000 homes and businesses could see broadband network upgrades as a result of this program.
Over the next few days, the FCC will review this information, compare it to the availability data on the National Broadband Map, confirm the allocation of the available funds, and release a comprehensive list of potentially eligible areas for this funding. This release will mark the start to a “challenge” process in which the FCC will receive and resolve disputes from the public as to whether these areas are, in fact, unserved or underserved. Parties will be able to challenge eligibility of the subsidy if, for example, they believe they can prove that a given area already has access to broadband at the requisite speed.
Connected Nation’s policy team has reviewed the recent allocation and has released a policy brief on these commitments. We invite you to learn more in preparation for the pending public comment period.
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