Sens Wicker and Thune Urge FCC to Move Quickly in RDOF Application Review
Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Broadband Subcommittee Ranking Member John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter to Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to request a status update on the Federal Communications Commission's long-form application review process for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. The auction awarded $9.2 billion over ten years to over 300 bidders to deploy high-speed broadband to over 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses in 49 states. The FCC’s RDOF rules prohibit the agency from authorizing money to winning bidders until it reviews and approves a given provider’s long-form application. The Senators asked that the FCC provide the following information by July 29, 2021:
- To date, of the 417 long-form applications filed, how many long-form applications have been reviewed by the FCC? How many long-form applications have been approved? How many long-form applications have been denied? If any have been denied, please describe why they have been denied.
- How many FCC staff are participating in the long-form application review process?
- Does the FCC plan to complete a review of all long-form applications before authorizing funding to the approved winning bidders? Yes or no? If yes, please explain why.
- Are there any rules or limitations in the RDOF Report and Order that prevent the Commission from authorizing funds on a rolling basis to winning bidders whose long-form applications have been reviewed and found sufficient? If yes, please describe those rules or limitations. If no, please explain why funding has not already been released to those winners whose applications did not present cause for further investigation?
- What measures is the FCC taking to ensure transparency and accountability in its long-form application review? Please include the factors and metrics the agency is considering in reviewing long-form applications.
- When do you estimate the FCC will complete its review of all long-form applications and begin authorizing support for all RDOF Phase I auction winners?
- Will you commit to providing monthly updates to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the status of the FCC’s review of the long-form applications?
Wicker, Thune Urge FCC to Move Quickly in RDOF Application Review