Skip to main content

FCC Handing Out $5 Billion More in Rural Subsidies

The FCC has announced almost $5 billion in support of rural broadband over the next decade, a continuation of its focus of government broadband subsidies on closing the rural divide.

The commission said the money ($4,914,427,137 to be exact) will go to improving and expanding "affordable" broadband for 455,334 homes and businesses. That includes 44,235 locations on tribal lands, something the FCC trumpeted in a separate announcement.

The money is coming from the FCC's Connect American Fund Universal Service Fund broadband subsidies and is going to 171 smaller, so-called "rate of return" carriers in 39 states and territories.

To get the money, the carriers have to provide broadband speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to more than 363,000 locations, including more than 37,000 on Tribal lands.

Deployment must begin by 2022.

The FCC also voted earlier this month on a framework for handing out some $20 billion in broadband subsidies, which it has dubbed its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.