The Federal Communications Commission is putting $166 million into rural broadband funding. The funds will be allocated through Connect America. Providers will begin receiving funding this month.
Chairman Pai also announced his intention to create the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will provide $20.4 billion over the next decade to connect approximately four million rural homes and businesses to high-speed broadband.
The FCC authorized the first wave of funding in May, providing $111.6 million in funding over the next decade to expand service to 37,148 unserved homes and businesses in 12 states.
To date, the first two rounds of authorizations are providing $278.4 million over the next decade to expand service to 97,998 new locations. Over the coming months, the FCC will be authorizing additional funding as it approves the final applications of the winning bidders.
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.
For this round, the winning bids include projects that will expand broadband on Native American lands; provide gigabit connection speeds to rural residents throughout the US and connect business and individual subscribers throughout the American West.
“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,” said Chairman Pai in a statement.
A map of the winning bids is available here.