FCC Getting Serious About Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Defaults

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In December 2023, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued fines for two internet service providers that the FCC says defaulted on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) obligations. RDOF was the FCC subsidy program where broadband subsidies were awarded by a reverse auction that ended in December 2020. The first fine was to Etheric Communications for $732,000 for 244 locations. Etheric was one of the largest RDOF winners, having won $248.6 million to cover 64,463 locations. The FCC said that Etheric had failed to become designated as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC) for the affected passings. A much larger fine of $21.7 million was levied again GigFire (or LTD Broadband) for defaulting on 7,238 locations. Apparently, LTD Broadband has rebranded as GigFire, and the FCC levied the fine against both entities since it seemed uncertain of the relationship between LTD Broadband and GigFire. I think the FCC is using these fines to issue a firm warning to any other RDOF winners who might be considering default. 

FCC Getting Serious About RDOF Defaults