The Federal Communications Commission has awarded almost $1.5 billion to help fund the delivery of high-speed broadband access to homes and small businesses in more than 700,000 rural locations, the agency announced on Tuesday.
The money comes from the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction, which raised $1.488 billion that will be distributed over the next decade across 45 states. In total, 103 service providers won CAF funds to increase broadband coverage in 713,176 rural regions where the deployment of broadband network infrastructure is not economically viable without subsidies.
Unlike some prior auctions that specified the type of technology providers must use to deliver services, this auction left access technologies open to operators. However, the FCC designed this auction with a "weighted preference for service with higher speeds, higher usage allowances and lower latency," the agency said in a press release.
In all, 53% of all locations served by operators receiving CAF Phase II funds ultimately will have broadband services with download speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s, while 19% will have 1 Gbit/s, the FCC said. The vast majority of the locations, 711,389 sites (all but 0.25% of the total), will attain download speeds of at least 25 Mbit/s, the agency said.
To ensure adherence to the program, the FCC requires that participating providers must reach at least 40% of assigned homes and businesses in their state within three years of authorization. Subsequent build-out must increase 20% annually, until the contract is completed in the sixth year.
Find a list of winners by state here. And an alphabetical listing, by provider, here.
Overall peak usage on US cable networks continues to flatten out and even decline slightly, but sustained higher levels of usage on the upstream path have persisted, according to the latest data from the NCTA.
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