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

Rural Broadband: Go Big and Stay Home

Cable operators are telling the Federal Communications Commission that if it wants to attract cable operators and other terrestrial broadband providers to its massive subsidy program for rural broadband buildouts, it should retain census blocks as the smallest biddable unit in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction. NCTA–The Internet & Television Association has suggested that if the FCC goes big, cable operator bidders may stay home.

Chairman Pai's Response to Senators Regarding the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

On March 9, 24 senators wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to express concerns about key details of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), particularly excluding areas that are awarded funding through the US Department of Agriculture's ReConnect program and state-run broadband deployment or subsidy programs from being eligible for the RDOF.

Senators Call on FCC to Evaluate How Net Neutrality Repeal Negatively Impacts Public Safety, Universal Access, and Broadband Competition

Twenty-eight senators wrote a letter to the Federal Communications Commission demanding that it consider how repealing net neutrality could negatively impact public safety, universal access, and broadband competition. In October 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the Trump FCC’s repeal of the Open Internet Order as lawful but also ruled that the FCC failed to adequately consider public safety, the Lifeline program for low-income consumers, and competitive broadband providers’ access to poles needed to deploy their networks.

Congress Tells FCC to Fix Broadband Maps Now

On March 23, 2020, President Donald Trump signed into law the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act. The new law requires the Federal Communications Commission, before the end of the summer, to dramatically reform the nation's problematic broadband deployment maps.

Chairman Pai's Response to Sen Manchin Regarding Mobility Fund Phase II

On Feb 23, 2020, Sen Joe Manchin (D-WV) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to urge him to "revise the aggressive timeline outline for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and postpone the initial auction until after the eligibility maps can be challenged and verified." Sen Manchin also wrote Chairman Pai on Dec 3, 2019 to describe specific examples in West Virginia of unreliable broadband service.

To Fight Coronavirus, Millions More Americans Need Internet Access

One instruction remains consistent and clear during the coronavirus pandemic: Stay home. For many of us, that means taking our daily activities — work, school, medical care and connecting with loved ones — online. But not for everyone.

Musk's SpaceX Looking to Compete for $16 Billion in Federal Broadband Subsidies

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is seeking to qualify for federal subsidies to provide broadband service to rural areas, over the objections of competitors who say its satellite-based technology is unproven.

Senate Commerce Approves ACCESS BROADBAND Act

The Senate Commerce Committee approved the Advancing Critical Connectivity Expands Service, Small Business Resources, Opportunities, Access, and Data Based on Assessed Need and Demand (ACCESS BROADBAND) Act (S. 1046), as well as two-other communications-related bills. The bill creates the Office of Internet Connectivity and Growth within the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, the White House's chief communications policy adviser. The office will track the construction, use and access to broadband infrastructure built with federal subsidies.

FCC Chairman Pai: FCC Lacks Resources to Implement BRODBAND DATA Act

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai told a House Financial Services Subcommittee budget hearing that he could not provide a timeline for when the FCC could improve its broadband availability maps, in part because of a bill Congress just passed to require better mapping. Asked for a best-guess for when better maps could be produced, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (who was also testifying) said she thought the FCC could improve its maps within 3-6 months and again argued the FCC should hold off on handing new rural broadband buildout subsidies — $16 billion worth and the

Coronavirus School Closings Expose Digital Divide

The mounting school closures amid the coronavirus outbreak in the US are exposing major equity gaps in access to technology and the internet, and the Federal Communications Commission needs to step in, according to FCC commissioners. "Now is absolutely the time to talk about the coronavirus disruption and how technology can help," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel told a Senate hearing.