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

ILSR Challenges Frontier's Attempt to Block Rural Broadband Upgrades

After Frontier Communications claimed that it now offers broadband in 17,000 rural census blocks in an effort to remove those areas from the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming rural broadband funding program, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance filed comments with the FCC to draw attention to Frontier’s questionable claims. “We are concerned that Frontier may have overstated its capacity to actually deliver the claimed services in many areas,” the comments read.

FCC shouldn't delay broadband upgrades for better data, industry tells lawmakers

Efforts from the Federal Communications Commission to expand both fixed-wireless and mobile broadband across rural America will require more granular data to reach their full potential, but deployment efforts shouldn’t be delayed any longer, according to industry stakeholders and legislators testifying at a Senate hearing. The FCC has acknowledged that its data-collection processes are fundamentally flawed as carriers have overstated coverage in their self-reported map data.

House Democrats Propose Bill to Keep Americans Connected During Pandemic

House Democratic leadership unveiled a $3 trillion relief package, the HEROES Act, that includes provisions to connect people to broadband. The legislation:

Rep Tonko Calls Out FCC For Failure to Secure Broadband Access in Upstate NY

Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) sent a stinging letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai detailing the agency’s chronic failures to correctly map and support New York households with limited broadband access.

FCC Receives Over 180 RDOF Eligible Area Challenges, Including Some Big Ones from WISPs

The Federal Communications Commission has received challenges from about 180 entities that have stated that they provide broadband at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream, along with voice service, to at least part of census blocks that were on the commission’s preliminary list of areas eligible for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction scheduled to start in Oct.

Frontier Files Response on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Challenge

On May 1, 2020, Frontier respond to NTCA, NRECA and WISPA, who questioned claims made in Frontier’s challenge to the list of census blocks deemed initially eligible in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. Frontier confirmed the vast majority of the census blocks listed in its challenge represent existing builds, including those undertaken as part of the Connect America Fund II program over the past five years.

Frontier, amid bankruptcy, is suspected of lying about broadband expansion

Small Internet providers have asked for a government investigation into Frontier Communications' claim that it recently deployed broadband to nearly 17,000 census blocks, saying the expansion seems unlikely given Frontier's bankruptcy and its historical failure to upgrade networks in rural areas. NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association, which represents about 850 small ISPs, is skeptical of Frontier's reported deployment.

Challenge Frontier's RDOF Challenges

On April 10, 2020, Frontier Communications submitted a limited challenge in the above-referenced docket seeking to exclude more than 16,000 census blocks from eligibility in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) Phase I auction. Appendix 1 of the Frontier Challenge lists census blocks where Frontier asserts that it “has deployed broadband service at speeds of 25/3 Mbps since Frontier’s June 2019 Form 477 and that appear on the Bureau’s preliminary list.” If successful in its entirety, an estimated 400,000 Americans would live in areas that would not be eligible this year for RDOF supp

Delay Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Opening

The Colorado Broadband Office (CBO) wrote to ask Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to extend the October 22, 2020 opening of the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund 904 Auction (RDOF 904 Auction) and the Rural Tribal Window timeline, set to close on August 3, 2020, by 180 days respectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that the internet is critical infrastructure and having the ability to virtually conduct business, video conferences with medical professionals, and access online education has become essential for everyone, everywhere.

Frontier: A Major Telecom Monopoly Fails America

Frontier Communications recently declared bankruptcy, following a history of increasingly unsustainable acquisitions. It also just missed its milestone for the Connect America Fund, which required the company to deploy obsolete 10/1 Mbps service to 80 percent of the funded locations by the end of 2019 in return for more than $1.5 billion in subsidies. Some 774,000 locations should have at least 10/1 Mbps service by the end of 2020 from a company Consumer Reports repeatedly finds to be one of the worst Internet Service Providers in the nation.