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FCC Schedules Rural Broadband Bucks Webinar

The FCC's Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force has scheduled a May 5 webinar on the big bucks the FCC plans to provide for closing the rural digital divide. 

That effort has taken on new urgency in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic-driven shelter-in-place populace and the Trump Administration plan to try and make sure all kids K-12 have access to broadband for remote learning. 

Currently millions of homes--there is some disagreement over just how many--lack access to high-speed broadband, most in rural areas. 

The FCC is giving out up to $16 billion in the first phase of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.  

Related: FCC Sets Rural Broadband Fund Auction Date 

The May 5 webinar is free and will give an overview of how the auction of that $16 billion in subsidies (Auction 904) will be set up. 

The FCC said that almost 6 million homes and businesses will be eligible for service in the auction.  

The FCC in January approved a $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to support broadband deployment in rural areas, with $16 billion handed out in phase one via a reverse auction. 

Related: All the Latest News on COVID-19 and Its Impact on Industry

The Report and Order adopted the two-phase reverse auction framework for providing high-cost universal service support to bring fixed high-speed broadband service to millions of unserved Americans in high-cost areas.  

The fund will go toward deploying high-speed broadband over 10 years to areas currently lacking fixed broadband service of at least 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload.