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

Spectrum Launches Gigabit Broadband, Mobile, TV and Voice Services in Cullman County, Alabama

Spectrum announced the launch of Spectrum Internet, Mobile, TV and Voice services to more than 1,900 homes and small businesses in Cullman County, Alabama. Spectrum’s newly constructed fiber-optic network buildout is part of the company’s approximately $5 billion RDOF-related investment in unserved rural communities, partly offset by $1.2 billion in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) RDOF auction. The company’s RDOF expansion will provide broadband access to 1.3 million customer locations across 24 states in the coming years.

FCC Getting Serious About Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Defaults

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.

Conclusion of RDOF Auction 904 Application Review

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB), in conjunction with the Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), announced the conclusion of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (Auction 904) long-form application review.

Earth to the FCC: Elon Musk’s Starlink Works

It is clear that nobody at the Federal Communications Commission has used the Starlink service. We have a cabin in the woods in rural South Carolina that is in an internet desert. It gets no wired internet, no wired telephone service and weak and spotty cellphone service, with no prospect of improvement. I recently subscribed to the Starlink standard service. The equipment arrived promptly, setup was quick and easy, and the signal is rock solid, with no weather interruptions. Download speed is as fast as the wired internet service at our home in town.

Wavelength's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Bids in Default Announced

The Federal Communications Commission's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB or Bureau) and the Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA) announced that Wavelength LLC, a Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF or Auction 904) long-form applicant, has defaulted. The Bureau has concluded its review of Wavelength’s long-form application in Arizona.

Benton Welcomes Circuit Court Decision that Underscores the Importance and the Validity of the Universal Service Fund

"The USF is a critical tool to provide, among other things, Lifeline internet and voice service to low-income Americans, and reduced-rate internet access to schools, libraries and healthcare providers. Today's opinion underscores the importance—and the validity—of the Congressionally-mandated USF program.

Joint Statement on USF Contribution Decision

Today’s decision is a victory for the many rural and urban consumers and anchor institutions across the country who rely on the services supported by the federal Universal Service Fund. The USF has been, and continues to be, a critical tool to narrow the digital divide and help address connectivity gaps. The court’s ruling affirms that Congress’ directive to the FCC—over 25 years ago—to collect contributions in support of this vital Fund is constitutional. Other courts considering similar challenges should reach the same conclusion.

Takeaways from the FCC’s LTD Decisions

In a one-two punch, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rejected LTD’s appeal of the earlier decision declaring it to be in default for its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) winning bids and proposed to fine LTD over $21 million for its defaults.

FCC Proposes $22 Million in Fines for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Defaults

In this Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL), the Federal Communications Commission identifies two Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I Auction (Auction 904) applicants that defaulted on their bids for support on August 10, 2022, and May 23, 2023, in apparent violation of the FCC’s rules (see applicants below). In light of the applicants’ defaults spanning 7,482 Census Block Groups (CBGs), this NAL proposes forfeitures for each of the two Auction 904 defaulters. The proposed forfeitures assessed here total $22,446,000.

Charter’s $1.3 Billion Texas Investment

Charter celebrated the $1.3 billion that the company is investing in rural areas of Texas. Charter will invest $700 million of the money to cover the full cost of network upgrades. The remaining $420 million will cover some of the cost of fiber deployment. The remainder of the cost of fiber deployment will come partially from money Charter won in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program in 2020, and partially from public-private partnerships with counties and cities.