Individuals who primarily Reside in a Rural Area

Starlink and the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

In August 2022, the Federal Communications Commission denied the SpaceX (Starlink) bid to receive $885 million over ten years through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). The FCC went on to say in the order that there were several technical reasons for the Starlink rejection. Starlink appealed the FCC ruling. Current federal grant rules don’t allow federal subsidies to be given to any area that is slated to get another federal broadband subsidy. This has meant that the RDOF areas have been off-limits to other federal grants since the end of 2020.

The cost of running fiber in rural America: $200,000 per passing

A US Department of Agriculture (USDA) release of the latest grant winners for the ReConnect broadband deployment program was the cost of deploying fiber in rural America. Looking at rural Alaska as an example, the Alaska Telephone Company, which won a $33 million grant, is planning to run fiber to 211 homes and five businesses at a staggering cost of nearly $204,000 per passing. In addition to the grant, the operator said it plans to invest $11 million of its own money in the project.

Lee County, Illinois, commits $1.7 million for broadband partnership

The Lee County (IL) Board is earmarking $1.7 million toward a massive, multi-county project to expand broadband in rural areas. Ogle County (IL) has spearheaded a Broadband for All initiative that’s a public-private partnership to improve broadband access in counties including Ogle and Lee. The partnership is with Syndeo Networks, and the group is applying for a $28 million “Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program” grant through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Lee County’s contribution would be about $1.7 million for more than $11 million

Network Investments, Staff Challenges and More: 2022 Telecommunications Benchmarking Study

The Moss Adams 2022 Telecommunications Benchmarking Study provides important data and takeaways influenced by this economic landscape, enabling you to assess where your business ranks against other telecommunications companies in key industry areas. The study compiles 2021 data from 115 companies. Participants comprised 55 cooperatives and 60 privately held businesses.

Next Update of FCC Broadband Map Likely Won’t be a Moment to Celebrate

The next update of the Federal Communications Commission broadband map, expected in late November or early December, is likely to have a considerable number of errors, according to sources familiar with the broadband data collection initiative on which the map will be based. The new map will be based on data collected from broadband providers. Those providers were required to enter broadband availability data on a per-location basis into an FCC-provided database.

Nextlink teams up with Tarana to deploy CBRS spectrum in rural areas

Gigabit broadband service is coming to communities and rural areas in 11 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin through a partnership by Nextlink and Tarana. They expect to expand service to hundreds of rural counties over the next several years, covering over a quarter million households. Part of this ties back to the Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) licenses Nextlink picked up at auction in 2020.

Broadband Deserts

Broadband deserts beget population deserts as many in rural areas seek greener, high-speed broadband pastures. Counties with poor broadband are seeing people move away to get better jobs or to get broadband for their kids. Real estate agents are reporting that it’s extremely difficult to sell a home that has no broadband option. Several studies have shown that students that grow up without home broadband don’t perform nearly as well as students with broadband. There are hundreds of rural counties working hard to get fiber broadband with the hope of stemming the population loss.

Biden-Harris Administration Awards $29.3 Million to the Native Village of Port Lions, Alaska

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has awarded a $29.3 million Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) grant to the Native Village of Port Lions, Alaska. This grant will fund a new fiber-optic high-speed Internet network capable of Gigabit speeds. The proposed project will directly connect 930 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and anchor institutions. NTIA has now made 70 awards totaling $755,737,402.24 in funding through the TBCP.

Overcoming the challenge of connecting rural AZ to broadband

Milan Eaton, director of the E-Rate program for the Arizona Department of Education, uses the federal program to install high-speed internet infrastructure in schools in remote areas across AZ. According to the White House, 14% of Arizonans live in areas with no broadband infrastructure at minimally acceptable speeds.

Broadband Needs of Rural Small Businesses and Federal Programs to Support Them

In a 2021 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that some small businesses lack access to broadband, but may benefit from federal programs that fund deployment in rural areas. Small businesses can likely reap the benefits of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) and the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rural Utilities Service's (RUS) funding to expand broadband deployment.