CAF Auction Will Provide $2 Billion for Rural Broadband – speed & data allowances requirements are not impressive

Telecompetitor reports

The FCC said today that it expects to conduct a reverse auction of up to $1.98 billion in Connect America Fund (CAF) money in 2018, which will go toward the cost of bringing broadband to rural areas lacking broadband service. CAF auction funds are to be dispersed over a 10-year period.

The commission proposed enabling various types of service providers to bid in the CAF auction and recommended that providers be allowed to bid at the census block level.

Areas eligible for the CAF auction include rural areas where one of the nation’s largest price cap carriers is the incumbent telecom services provider and where that carrier declined to provide broadband service at the level of support offered by the FCC.

The FCC is giving people time to comment…

Today’s public notice seeks comment on the proposed application and bidding procedures for the auction, including how interested parties can qualify to participate in the auction, how bidders will submit their bids, and how the FCC will process bids to determine the winners and support amounts, an FCC press release said. More details regarding the CAF auction are available here.

I went on to read part of the FCC press release and more info on the funding. They are looking at supporting multiple tiers of service – starting with 10/1 access and 150 GB data allowance. Despite the fact that the average family uses 190 GB per month and the FCC changed the definition of broadband to 25/3 in 2015. And apparently bidders have 6 years to deploy projects entirely…

  • 40 percent of the required number of locations in a state by the end of third year of support
  • An additional 20 percent in each subsequent year
  • 100 percent by the end of the sixth year of support

I can only image what the average family usage will be by then – or what the definition of broadband will be!

The following chart comes from the FCC. I hope I’m reading the weighting wrong.

This entry was posted in Funding, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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