US operators in bid for $16bn worth of rural coverage licences

US operators in bid for $16bn worth of rural coverage licences

Ajit Pai FCC 16x9.jpg

Nearly 400 US operators are bidding for US$16 billion worth of licences to build rural networks to serve more than 10 million people.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has started the to expand fixed rural coverage to offer up to 1Gbps to parts of the US that are still unserved by broadband.

“This is the biggest step yet in our ongoing commitment to close the digital divide,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai (pictured). “It represents a major investment in rural America that will benefit the entire country as we connect consumers who are currently missing out on digital opportunity, from the Pacific Coast to Appalachia and from the Great Plains to the Gulf Coast.”

The FCC said that it has qualified 386 providers to bid in a reverse auction, in phase one of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

The process will target up to $16 billion to deploy networks to serve up to 10.25 million people who lack access to fixed broadband service meeting the FCC’s benchmark speeds.

Pai said: “I’m especially pleased with the hard work our staff has put in to carefully plan this auction and bring it to fruition, and I look forward to sharing updates on our progress in coming weeks.”

He explained that the auction “will proceed using a multi-round, descending clock auction format in which bidders will indicate in each round whether they will bid to provide service to an area at a given performance tier and latency at the current round’s support amount”. The auction will end after the aggregate support amount of all bids is less than or equal to the total $16 billion budget and competition for support in any given area no longer exists, said Pai.



Gift this article