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 Digital Opportunity Fund Winners Seek Solutions to Rising Build Costs

Deployment cost estimates underlying winning Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) bids are no longer accurate, representatives for a coalition of RDOF winners told FCC officials on July 14. The representatives suggested several possible remedies, including providing additional funding and other ideas. In a letter summarizing the meeting, the coalition cited “massive and unprecedented increases in broadband deployment construction costs . . .

Why Minnesota is unlikely to meet its broadband expansion goals on time, despite influx of federal cash

During a stop in Minnesota in June 2023, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo made a promise: The $652 million earmarked for Minnesota to help build infrastructure for rural high-speed internet would be enough to finally cover every part of the state. Is that true? It depends, it turns out, on how you define a finished job. When calculating who has access to proper broadband, the federal government counts much slower internet speeds compared to Minnesota’s definition.

Gigi Sohn laughs at incumbents’ argument against community broadband

American Association for Public Broadband Executive Director Gigi Sohn’s hope is that the incumbents that oppose community broadband will come to realize that there are better business opportunities for them to support the concept rather than fight it. For instance, they could have bid on the project in Bountiful City (UT), rather than use shadowy tactics to try and kill it. For decades, these incumbents have argued that taxpayer dollars should not be used to compete against their private investments. In response to that, Sohn said, “I’m sorry to laugh.

FWA Mapping and BEAD Grants

There is one mapping issue that unfortunately messed up the count of eligible passings for Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program grants and that is going to be a real concern. Both T-Mobile and Verizon have activated rural cell sites that can deliver home broadband using licensed spectrum that can be 100/20 Mbps or a little faster.

How can we make the broadband funding go as far as possible?

How can we make the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program funding go as far as possible? The answer is that state grant plans need to be laser focused on how to generate competition and keep costs as low as possible. If we can do that, we stretch the BEAD dollars as far as possible. If we don’t, we run out of money. It’s really quite easy to construct this framework. We only need two pieces of data: the number of unserved and underserved locations, and what we pay to reach them.

GigFire, Formerly LTD Broadband, Makes Illinois Acquisition

Fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) provider GigFire has acquired Rural Comm, a service provider headquartered in Farina (IL). GigFire, which now operates in ten Midwestern states, was known as LTD Broadband until earlier in 2023.

Power Cooperative Provides New Internet Opportunities for Members

In 2022, Jeff Churchwell made history. As the general manager of Winnsboro-based Northeast Louisiana Power Cooperative (NELPCO), Churchwell led the initiative to become the first Louisiana electric cooperative to provide broadband for its members. NELPCO serves seven parishes in northeast Louisiana: Franklin, Madison, Richland, Tensas, East Carroll, West Carroll and Morehouse. With Campbell on board, construction for Volt Broadband began by June. As of April 2023, Volt Broadband has 930 active customers and installs eight to 10 new customers every day.
 

$20.4 Million Fiber-Broadband Project to Benefit 8,200 in Lumpkin County

Some 8,200 homes, businesses and schools in unserved and underserved parts of Lumpkin County (GA) will, for the first time, be eligible for high-speed fiber internet. The $20.4 million project, to provide fiber broadband to Dahlonega and throughout the county, is expected to be completed in 2024. It is a result of a public–private partnership between the county and Kinetic. The county will use about $6.9 million in state grant money from the federal government.

Spectrum Launches Gigabit Broadband, Mobile, TV and Voice Services in Newberry County, South Carolina

Spectrum announced the launch of Spectrum Internet, Mobile, TV and Voice services to more than 300 homes and small businesses in Newberry County, South Carolina. Spectrum’s newly constructed fiber-optic network buildout in Newberry County is part of the company’s approximately $5 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF)-related investment in unserved rural communities, which includes $1 billion won in the Federal Communications Commission’s RDOF auction.