Internet service providers in 19 states will be receiving $554 million in funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. 

FCC noted Wednesday that 11 broadband providers who’ve been selected in the third round of funding will be serving about 180,000 locations with gigabit service, which is equal to download speeds of 1,000 megabits per second. 

“Broadband is an essential service and during the pandemic we’ve seen just how critical it is for families, schools, hospitals, and businesses to have affordable internet access,” FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement.

FCC commissioners adopted a report and order establishing the $20.4 billion two-phase RDOF program on Jan. 30, 2020. 

The first phase included $16 billion in funding for applicants providing internet service with a minimum download speed of 25 megabits per second and 3 megabits per second upload speed to unserved areas across the country. The minimum speed of 25/3 as defined by the FCC has been in place since 2015.

The RDOF phase one auction began Oct. 29, 2020, and ended Nov. 25, 2020.

States receiving funding in the third round of phase one include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. Georgia received $149 million and Michigan received $188 million. 

But not every applicant was approved for funding. 

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The Commission denied LTD Broadband’s request to waive the designation deadline to be considered as an eligible telecommunications carrier in North Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska. 

NW Fiber of Washington state was also denied a waiver request, which was asking for permission to send in a long-form application after the funding auction was completed.

The FCC said it will work as the program moves forward to make sure residents in unserved areas who truly need broadband get the internet access they need.

Phase two of the RDOF program, which includes $4.4 billion in funding, will focus on areas partially served with download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps. It’s not clear when that phase will begin.

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