Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Created in 2020 as the successor to Connect America Fund providing up to $20.4 billion over 10 years to connect rural homes and small businesses to broadband networks

RDOF defaulters hinder state BEAD programs

There’s a lot of talk about how the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) might make a mess of things with the Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) program. That’s because if a location is covered by an RDOF award, then it’s ineligible for a BEAD grant. Unfortunately, many RDOF awardees have officially defaulted on their obligations to build fiber, or they just haven’t made any progress in deploying the fiber.

Temporary Waiver of Weiss Bank Safety Rating for CAF II and RDOF

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) partially waived, on one's own behalf, the requirement that a bank issuing a letter of credit (LOC) to a support recipient for either the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction (Auction 903) or the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction (Auction 904) maintain a Weiss bank safety rating of B- or better.  This limited waiver only applies to banks that previously issued LOCs to Auction 903 or 904 support recipients, and therefore previously had a Weiss bank safety rating of B- or better.

FCC Seeks Comment on Letter Seeking RDOF and CAF II Amnesty From 69 ISPs, Trade Associations, State and Local Officials, School Districts, Unions and Civil Organizations

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) seeks comment on a letter from 69 Internet Service Providers, Trade Associations, State and Local Officials, School Districts, Unions, and Civil Society Organizations [including the Benton Institute for Broadband & Society].

Some RDOF and CAF II Auction Census Block Groups are Eligible For Other Funding Programs

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) announced that BARConnects and North Alabama Electric Cooperative have notified the FCC  that they will not fulfill their commitment to offer voice and broadband service to certain census block groups (CBGs) within their Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and/or Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction supported service areas.  These providers will be subject to penalties for the CBGs where they are defaulting.

Broadband experts, community groups & internet providers urge FCC to free up rural communities to receive broadband subsidies

A coalition of nearly 70 broadband experts, internet service providers (ISPs), community leaders, and nonprofits wrote to the Federal Communications Commission with a request to grant a limited amnesty designed to prevent the exclusion of America’s least connected rural communities from upcoming federal broadband subsidies. Under the rules of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, communities that are already covered by grants awarded under programs like the Rural Digital Opportunities Fund (RDOF) and Connect America Fund II (CAF II) are not eligible to receive BEAD fund

Chairwoman Rosenworcel’s Response to Members of Congress Regarding Starlink’s Application for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

On January 10, a group of lawmakers wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to express concern about the FCC's decision to revoke SpaceX’s Starlink 2020 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) award. In her February 6 response, Chairwoman Rosenworcel explained that RDOF featured a two-part application process, and that in the second phase of the process, winning bidders from the first phase were required to share technical and financial information with the FCC.

LTD Broadband Challenges FCC Denial of RDOF Funds in Court

LTD Broadband has filed a petition for review of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to deny it funding as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. LTD, which largely offers fixed wireless broadband, filed a request for judicial review with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on February 2, contesting the agency decision on December 4, 2023. The action follows a series of events stemming from the FCC's proposal for a $21.7-million fine against LTD for defaulting on its bids in the RDOF broadband subsidy program.

Rural Texans, internet providers worry that federal broadband expansion plan will have a painfully slow rollout

A national coalition—including broadband providers and nonprofit organizations—noted that some recipients nationwide of previous broadband grant programs have failed to use their allocations to build out broadband networks. Texas Rural Funders, a nonprofit dedicated to rural philanthropy, took the lead in collecting signatures from Texans.

The ARPAphant in the room

Cartesian and ACA Connects released the 4th version of their estimate for how far the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) money will go, finding that we can reach “at least 71 percent of eligible locations” with fiber with the estimated $61 billion is available (BEAD + provider matching) to reach the remaining 10.1 million unserved and underserved locations.

Chairwoman Rosenworcel's Response to Senator Lujan Regarding Proposals to Modify the Contribution Base for the Universal Service Fund

On Dec 12, 2023, Sen Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel requesting input on proposals to modify the contribution base for the Universal Service Fund (USF).