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FCC Ready To Hand Out $1.2 Billion in RDOF Bucks

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

The FCC said that 23 broadband providers in 32 states have been authorized to receive over $1.2 billion in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) money, the largest funding round so far, the FCC pointed out Friday.

The money will provide broadband service to over 1 million locations, said the FCC.

The commission has also launched the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan to better track compliance with the FCC's universal service high-cost programs, including RDOF.

The plan includes more audits and verification of those getting the money (double the number of audits from last year and with additional on-site audits) and making public the results of its verifications, audits and speed and latency testing.

In its RDOF auction, the FCC allocated $20 billion for 1) rural broadband buildouts ($16 billion) and 2) unserved areas ($4 billion) over the next 10 years.

Carriers bid on how economically they could deliver service that met FCC speed and build-out metrics. The money is for fixed voice and broadband service to unserved, high-cost, areas at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps.

The FCC has taken some criticism for handing out the RDOF billions of dollars before it collects better broadband availability data. ■

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.