According to Telecompetitor…
FCC rural broadband funding could increase by over $500 million if the commission votes to adopt an order circulated by commission chairman Ajit Pai. According to an FCC spokesman, the funding would include about $180 million for the current funding year for the nation’s smaller rate-of-return (ROR) carriers who get their support through traditional legacy mechanisms and up to $360 million over the next 10 years to ROR carriers who receive support based on the A-CAM cost model.
In a statement Pai said he had heard “from community leaders, Congress and carriers that insufficient, unpredictable funding” has kept them from deploying broadband more extensively to close the digital divide. The funding, he said, will “boost broadband deployment in rural America and put our high-cost system on a more efficient path, helping to ensure that every American can benefit from the digital revolution.”
The $500 million would come, in part, from reserves, the spokesman said. In addition, the order seeks comment on the Universal Service Fund (USF) budget, he noted.
More funding is always good news. I would just like to see a current definition of broadband. I know this time last year (Jan 24, 2017), the FCC announced 182 rate of return companies that elected to received A-CAM support. Below is a chart of Minnesota companies in that list and their obligation to provide service as specified speeds. You’ll see not all of the speeds mentioned would meet the Minnesota speed goals for 2022 (25/3) and none of them meet the speed goals for 2026 (100/20).
(I know that table won’t translate well online – you can also download it in Word.)
|State||(RoR)||Holding Company||Annual ACAM Support||Locations in Census Blocks Receiving Model-Based Funding||Locations with Obligation at 25/3 Mbps||Locations with Obligation at 10/1 Mbps||Locations with Obligation at 4/1 Mbps||Locations Remaining on Reasonable Request Standard|
|MN||ARVG||Arvig Enterprises, Inc.||21,559,568||33,455||20,993||6,998||2,732||2,732|
|MN||CHRS||Christensen Communications Company||536,263||420||83||28||154||155|
|MN||HNSN||Hanson Communications, Inc.||2,572,081||2,466||1,179||393||447||447|
|MN||INTR4||Interstate Telecommunications Cooperative, Inc.||994,999||779||155||156||117||351|
|MN||LRSN||Larson Utilities, Inc.||1,423,622||1,160||243||244||168||505|
|MN||MBLC||Mabel Cooperative Telephone Company||633,384||518||186||63||134||135|
|MN||NRTH8||Northern Telephone Company/Wilderness Valley Telephone Company||330,942||231||33||101||24||73|
|MN||NWLM||New Ulm Telecom, Inc.||6,118,567||7,913||3,414||1,138||1,680||1,681|
|MN||PRKR||Park Region Mutual Telephone Company||3,092,315||4,351||2,735||912||352||352|
|MN||RRLC||Rural Communications Holding Corporation||4,433,893||6,035||2,784||928||1,161||1,162|
|MN||RTHS||Rothsay Telephone Co. Inc.||448,181||335||24||73||59||179|
|MN||TDS||Telephone and Data Systems, Inc.||5,099,964||10,788||7,362||2,454||486||486|
|MN||VNCE||VNC Enterprises, LLC||274,969||302||36||108||39||119|
|MN||WKST||Wikstrom Telephone Company, Inc.||6,782,806||6,587||997||2,992||649||1,949|
I’ve abbreviated heading row above from : “Number of Locations in Eligible Census Blocks with Obligation to Offer” to “Locations with Obligation at”