Today the FCC announced that they believe their Rural Digital Opportunity fund would help six million rural Americans have access to high-speed internet. Thsi comes as the FCC plans to spend $20.4 billion to help close the rural internet divide.
“The digital divide affects many people in many rural communities. I’ve said that the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund would be our boldest step yet to bridge this divide, and today we get
a glimpse of the broad impact this investment in rural America would have across the country,” said Chairman Pai. “Our staff’s initial estimate shows that in 25 states there would be more
than 100,000 locations that would be eligible for Phase I of the Fund, and the benefits would be felt from the Pacific Coast to the Great Plains, and from Appalachia to the Gulf Coast. The
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is critical to bridging the digital divide. I hope that my colleagues will join me in voting for it on January 30.”
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.
Here are some previous announcements on how that money will be spent:
This award will help expand Internet to rural Americans in Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Montana, Iowa, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, and Kansas.
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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
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