FCC Hands Out $200 Million More for Rural Broadband

A rural ranch in Montana
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The FCC says it has authorized another almost $200 million in rural broadband funding, bringing the total it has handed out since July 2021 in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to over $5.2 billion.

The money, which comes from the FCC's Universal Service Program high-cost fund, will go to broadband buildouts in 26 states and the Northern Mariana Islands. It is the ninth round of RDOF funding.

“We need to connect everyone, everywhere, and today’s announcement will open new opportunities to serve communities that need high-speed, reliable broadband service,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. "With proper oversight, this program can advance our goal of closing the digital divide.”

Also: FCC Opens RDOF Application Window

Rosenworcel created the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan to monitor the program for waste, fraud, abuse, and transparency.

Among the steps the FCC has taken to ensure proper oversight included 1) sending letters to 197 applicants where there appeared already to be service -- ISPs definitely don't want government money being spent on overbuilding existing providers and 2) denying waivers for bidders who "have not made appropriate efforts to secure state approvals or prosecute their applications," denying them what would have been over $350 million in funds. ■

John Eggerton

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.