The Federal Communications Commission approved billions in funding for 368 broadband carriers to expand internet coverage and increase connection speeds to areas with limited or no access.
On October 30, the FCC authorized $18.28 billion in Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Enhanced A-CAM) funds for carriers who accepted support for 15 years starting January 1, 2024. The commission released an Authorization Report outlining which companies and states are receiving funds, a whopping 368 providers.
The Enhanced A-CAM program launched in July and provides support for installing high-cost broadband. Participating carriers are tasked with building and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to bring some of the U.S.’s most remote locations online at speeds of 100/20 Mbps or faster. Recipients must provide access to every location in their area that doesn’t currently have broadband passing this speed test or places without an existing commitment to deploy services.
Expanding broadband access across the country is vital to bringing connectivity to some of the hardest to reach places for the first time. The funds also help maintain and upgrade existing, outdated infrastructure to help communities living with unreliable internet. More than 23 million Americans live in a digital drought, lacking access to infrastructure capable of providing 10/1 Mbps fixed broadband, according to the FCC. By providing funding, the commission aims to drive economic growth in rural America and create jobs and business opportunities across the country.
Approved carriers have until July 1, 2024, to submit performance testing results to the FCC, proving they’re complying with regulations and meeting internet speed requirements. Current A-CAM I and A-CAM II recipients will receive approximately $866.5 million annually. Current legacy support recipients will get $385.4 million in “frozen support” in 2024, after which they’ll transition to an adjusted amount for the remainder of their involvement in the program.