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FCC Hands Out More CAF II Subsidy Money

The FCC has handed out the eighth tranche of money stemming from last year's CAF II auction, which had carriers bidding for broadband subsidy money.

Related: More CAF II Bidders Authorized for More Rural Bucks

The latest round of funding will see $89.2 million go to connect 123,000 rural homes and businesses in 21 states over the next 10 years, with the lion's share going to Viasat, which will get $87.1 million of that to connect 121,700 of those homes and businesses in 17 states. The balance is going to three others, LTD Broadband, Horry Telephone Cooperative and

California, the most populous state, is getting the most money with $13,918,362 going to serve 18,795 locations, but coming in second is the least populous state, Wyoming, with $9,301,915 going to serve 9,805 locations.

The CAF II money is being allocated over 10 years to unserved areas in 45 states. The largest incumbent price cap carriers—AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink—declined about $2 billion in Connect America Fund phase II (CAF II) support for building out broadband to high-cost, generally rural, areas, in 20 states, so the FCC opened that pot of money up to competitors, like cable broadband providers, via the auction.

All that money is coming from the Universal Service fund for high-cost, mostly rural, areas for which there is no business case for building out broadband absent that subsidy.

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.