Today the FCC announced $112.2 million in new funding to help expand rural broadband. This brings the FCC’s total funding to expand rural broadband to $1.4888 billion over the next 10 years. The FCC hopes this will expand broadband to 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses nationwide.
“Today, we take another step towards ensuring that all Americans have access to high-speed broadband,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “This fifth round of funding will provide rural Americans from California to Ohio with the economic, educational, civic, and healthcare opportunities that Internet access makes possible.”
Funding for this initiative comes from the Universal Service Fund. This fund was made to promote access to phone services in underserved areas and is now being used to bring internet access to those same areas.
Today the FCC announced how it will spend part of that money:
- Cal.net, Inc. is receiving over $50.5 million over 10 years to deploy service to 20,859 homes and businesses in California, most of which will get access to service delivering speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream, using fixed wireless technology
- W.A.T.C.H TV is receiving nearly $53.4 million over 10 years to deploy service to 23,957 rural homes and businesses in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, most of which
will get access to service delivering speeds of at least 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream, using fixed wireless technology
- Four rural phone companies are receiving $1.8 million to offer gigabit-speed fiber service to 536 rural homes and businesses in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
Here are some previous announcements on how that money will be spent:
“Providers will be deploying gigabit-speed connections to the majority of locations for which funding is being authorized today, while nearly 8,000 homes and small businesses on Tribal lands will be getting fixed broadband service for the first time,” the FCC chairman said of this financial commitment.
“High-speed Internet provides access to opportunity in the 21st century, and the FCC’s top priority is closing the digital divide so that all Americans can fully participate in our connected society,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai about this round of funding in partnership with New York State’s Broadband Program.
“Closing the digital divide is the FCC’s top priority, and I’m proud that this partnership will provide many rural New Yorkers with access to the opportunities that high-speed Internet offers.”
With the announcement of this investment, the FCC detailed where the money would be allocated. Recipients of funding included Northern Arapaho Tribal Industries, Tri-Co Connections, Midcontinent Communications, Citynet West Virginia, Armstrong Telecommunications, DTC Cable, and Haefele. Each recipient would receive the money to spend on bringing internet access to rural and underserved locations.
The largest investment in this push for rural internet access was made to bring broadband to Tribal lands over the next decade. Part of this push will bring high-speed internet to 44,243 homes and businesses on Tribal Lands nationwide.
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