FCC announce latest round of RDOF winners – none in Minnesota

The FCC reports…

By this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB), in conjunction with the Rural
Broadband Auctions Task Force (RBATF) and the Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), authorizes
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (Auction 904) support for the winning bids identified in Attachment A of
this Public Notice.
For each of the winning bids identified in Attachment A, we have reviewed the long-form
application information, including the letter(s) of credit and Bankruptcy Code opinion letter(s) from the
long-form applicant’s legal counsel. Based on the representations and certifications in the relevant longform application, we authorize and obligate support for the winning bids listed in Attachment A.
We will also soon post a state-level summary under the “Results” tab on the Auction 904
webpage at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904/round-results.1
The summary will provide for each longform applicant included in this Public Notice: 1) the total support amount over 10 years and total number
of locations that the long-form applicant is being authorized for in each state, 2) the total number of
locations to which the authorized support recipient must offer the required voice and broadband services
for each performance tier and latency in each state, and 3) the eligible census blocks included in the
winning bids that are being authorized in each state.

Starlink appeals FCC rejection of RDOF applications

Fierce Telecom reports…

SpaceX subsidiary Starlink asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider a decision to deny it $885.5 million in rural broadband funding, arguing the decision handed down in August was “flawed as a matter of both law and policy.”

The company filed what is known as an Application for Review with the Commission. Such applications are essentially appeals from an aggrieved party which ask the FCC to revisit actions taken on the grounds that they conflict with established statutes, regulations, precedent or policy or rely on a policy or precedent that should be changed or overturned.

Last month, the FCC rejected Starlink’s winning bids for $885.5 million in broadband subsidies from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, which were intended to help it connect more than 640,000 unserved locations in 35 states. At the time, the FCC cited Ookla data which showed Starlink’s broadband speeds were below the service benchmark set for its subsidies.

In its filing, however, Starlink claimed the FCC’s decision “rests on unsupported conjecture and outside-the-record information apparently cherry-picked from somewhere on the Internet.” It also accused the FCC of making the decision “in service to a clear bias towards fiber, rather than a merits-based decision to actually connect unserved Americans.”

What’s wrong with reverse auctions? Ask Doug Dawson

Earlier this week Doug Dawson looked at implications of doing another RDOF auction and then succinctly detailed the reasons not to go down that road. To me it’s a matter of fixing up the house like you’re going to sell it or live in it? DO you go cheap and cheerful or built to last? Doug gives more detail…

But there are larger questions involved in having another reverse auction. The big problem with the RDOF reverse auction was not just that the FCC didn’t screen applicants first, as Carr and others have been suggesting. The fact is that a reverse auction is a dreadful mechanism for awarding broadband grant money. A reverse auction is always going to favor lower-cost technologies like fixed wireless over fiber – it’s almost impossible to weight different technologies for an auction in a neutral way. It doesn’t seem like a smart policy to give federal subsidies to technologies with a 10-year life versus funding infrastructure that might last a century.

Reverse auctions also take state and local governments out of the picture. The upcoming BEAD funding has stirred hundred of communities to get involved in the process of seeking faster broadband. I think it’s clear that communities care about which ISP will become the new monopoly broadband provider in rural areas. If the FCC has a strict screening process up front, then future RDOF funding will only go to ISPs blessed by the FCC – and that probably means the big ISPs. I would guess that the only folks possibly lobbying for a new round of RDOF are companies like Charter and the big telcos.

The mechanism of awarding grants by Census block created a disaster in numerous counties where RDOF was awarded in what is best described as swiss cheese serving areas. The helter-skelter nature of the RDOF coverage areas makes it harder for anybody else to put together a coherent business plan to serve the rest of the surrounding rural areas. In contrast, states have been doing broadband grants the right way by awarding money to coherent and contiguous serving areas that make sense for ISPs instead of the absolute mess created by the FCC.

A reverse auction also relies on having completely accurate broadband maps – and until the FCC makes ISPs report real speeds instead of marketing speeds, the maps are going to continue to be fantasy in a lot of places.

Finally, the reverse auction is a lazy technique that allows the FCC to hand out money without having to put in the hard effort to make sure that each award makes sense. Doing grants the right way requires people and processes that the FCC doesn’t have. But we now have a broadband office and staff in every state thanks to the BEAD funding. If the FCC is going to give out more rural broadband funding, it ought to run the money through the same state broadband offices that are handling the BEAD grants. These folks know local conditions and know the local ISPs. The FCC could set overall rules about how the funds can be used, but it should let the states pick grant winners based upon demonstrated need and a viable business plan.

EVENT Sep 7: Webinar on how to Challenge National Broadband maps

The FCC reports…

By this Public Notice, the Broadband Data Task Force (Task Force), together with the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) and Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), announce that as of September 12, 2022, state, local, and Tribal governments, service providers, and other entities can begin to file bulk challenges to data in the Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric (Fabric),1 which serves as the foundation for the Broadband Data Collection (BDC) fixed availability maps. We also announce that we will host a webinar on September 7, 2022, at 2 p.m. EDT, to assist state, local, and Tribal governments, service providers, and other entities who intend to submit bulk challenges, or proposed corrections, to the location data in the Fabric. The virtual event will stream on www.fcc.gov/live and the Commission’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/FCC and will provide an overview of Fabric challenges and a walkthrough of the BDC system’s bulk Fabric challenge submission process.

The Fabric is a common dataset of all locations in the United States where fixed broadband Internet access service is or can be installed.2 The Broadband DATA Act3 required the Commission to issue rules establishing the Fabric, which will, among other things, serve as the foundation on which all data relating to the availability of fixed broadband Internet access service will be reported and overlaid.4 The Commission adopted the Fabric and the basic elements required by the Broadband DATA Act in the Second Report and Order5 and further refined key definitions for the Fabric (and established the Fabric challenge process) in the Third Report and Order. 6 Specifically, the Commission adopted a definition of a “location” for purposes of the Fabric, as well as definitions for “residential location” and “business location,” and delegated responsibility to OEA, in consultation with WCB, to ensure that locations reflect broadband serviceability to the extent OEA and WCB are able to make determinations given the data available.7 The Task Force, OEA, and WCB subsequently provided details on the methods for identifying structures that constitute broadband serviceable locations (BSLs) in the Fabric.8 Fixed broadband service providers that report their broadband availability data using a list of locations must report their service availability based on the location data in the Fabric.9 On June 23, 2022, the Task Force, WCB, and OEA made the production version of the Fabric available to fixed broadband service providers and state, local and Tribal government entities.

Starting on September 12, 2022, governmental entities, broadband service providers, and other entities that have obtained Fabric data using the process set forth in prior public notices11 may submit bulk challenges to the Fabric data in the BDC system. These stakeholders are uniquely positioned to provide early feedback on a large number of locations included in the Fabric data, which will help to refine the next version of the Fabric expected to be released in December. The Task Force, OEA, and WCB previously issued detailed data specifications for formatting and submitting bulk Fabric challenges in the BDC system.12 Once the BDC broadband maps are published later this year, members of the public will be able to view the maps and submit online challenges to the Fabric data associated with an individual location using the map interface.

We remind governments, service providers, and other entities and organizations planning to submit challenges that the Fabric is intended to identify BSLs as defined by the Commission,13 which will not necessarily include all structures at a particular location or parcel. We therefore urge potential challengers to familiarize themselves with the Commission’s definition of BSLs and the additional guidance provided in the Bulk Fabric Challenge Specs Public Notice where we describe some of the characteristics of BSLs so that challengers will be able to align their data with the Fabric location data to determine where BSLs may be missing or mischaracterized. We also reiterate that bulk Fabric challenges must conform to the specifications set forth in the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data. 14 The challenge data must include, among other things, the name and contact information of the submitting entity, the Fabric location subject to challenge, the category of the challenge for each location, and evidence supporting the challenge.15 Each bulk Fabric challenge data file must include records for each location being challenged in a Comma Separated Value (CSV) format, all fields must be included in the file upload, and all values must conform to the descriptions, codes, or formats identified for each field in the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data. 16 Bulk Fabric challengers also must certify that the information they submit is true and correct (to the best of their actual knowledge, information, and belief) for each location that is part of the bulk challenge.

The September 7 webinar will be streamed live at both www.fcc.gov/live and on the Commission’s YouTube page at www.youtube.com/FCC beginning at 2 p.m. EDT. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the Commission’s BDC webpage at www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData and on the Commission’s YouTube page. The event will include time for questions and answers, and questions may be submitted in advance of or during the workshop at BDCwebinar@fcc.gov.

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available on request. Please include a description of the accommodation you will need and tell us how to contact you if we need more information. Make your request as early as possible. Last-minute requests will be accepted, but may not be possible to fulfill. Send an e-mail to FCC504@fcc.gov or call the Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau at 202-418-0530 (voice).

The Commission also has made available on the BDC Help Center site at www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData/Help additional technical assistance materials for filing challenges to Fabric data, including the Data Specifications for Bulk Fabric Challenge Data (which sets forth the requirements for filing bulk challenges to BSL data in the Fabric), Fabric FAQs, and a bulk Fabric challenge data matrix, among other resources.

FCC takes back Auto Safety Spectrum for Wi-Fi

In an extreme case of use it or lose it, C|Net reports

The US Federal Communications Commission won an important battle in a fight to free up more unlicensed wireless spectrum for Wi-Fi devices.

A federal appeals court on Friday sided with the FCC in its decision to reallocate a big chunk of key spectrum for an expansion of unlicensed Wi-Fi use. The spectrum had previously been set aside for auto safety.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a legal challenge from the Intelligent Transportation Society of America and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials seeking to reverse the FCC’s 2020 decision to repurpose about 60% of the 5.9GHz band spectrum block for unlicensed indoor use to help improve speeds and reduce congestion on 5GHz Wi-Fi networks.

Mainstream (MN) look at FCC’s rejection of LTD Broadband and Starlink RDOF applications

Yesterday, the FCC announced their rejection of LTD Broadband and Starlink RDOF applications.

A recap at the highest level: LTD Broadband and Starlink qualified for the opportunity to get millions of dollars in federal contracts for broadband. There were questions about their ability to deploy these networks. The communities where they might have deployed networks have been unable to some other funding because of this deal. They have been frustrated for a year and a half. The FCC rejection of these providers means a loss of funding (hundreds of millions) coming to Minnesota BUT it also means these communities are free to find other opportunities.

Mainstreet media in Minnesota has been following the story, that in fairness includes some seriously wonky details. Here are what some of those sources are saying today:

  • MinnPost: In an email to MinnPost, Corey Hauer, the CEO of LTD, said company officials are “extremely disappointed in the FCC staff decision.”
    “I don’t believe the FCC fully appreciated the benefits LTD Broadband would bring to hundreds of thousands of rural Americans,” Hauer said. “We are continuing to review the letter and are evaluating our next steps.”
    FCC spokeswoman Anne Veigle said LTD can file a petition for reconsideration or an “application for review to appeal.”
  • Star Tribune: The FCC’s ruling on LTD is “a big deal,” said Brent Christensen, president of the Minnesota Telecom Alliance.
    “This is all uncharted territory,” Christensen said. “A lot of us don’t know what is going to happen.”
    An FCC spokesman said the locations for LTD’s winning bids will be eligible for other state and federal rural broadband funding programs. The federal government is expected to conduct other subsidy auctions.
  • Rueters: The FCC noted that Starlink, a fast-growing constellation of internet-beaming satellites, relies on nascent low-earth orbit satellite technology and had sought funding to provide 100/20 Mbps service to 642,925 locations in 35 states.
    “We must put scarce universal service dollars to their best possible use as we move into a digital future that demands ever more powerful and faster networks,” Rosenworcel said. “We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”
    The FCC said the two companies both provided inadequate responses to questions and are not capable of complying with commission requirements.

 

Latest RDOF awards announced – none in MN and nothing to LTD

The FCC has announces the the latest rounds of RDOF funding.

By this Public Notice, the Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB), in conjunction with the Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force (RBATF) and the Office of Economics and Analytics (OEA), authorizes Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (Auction 904) support for the winning bids identified in Attachment A of this Public Notice.

As in the previous round – none were based in Minnesota.

Telecompetitor offers a perspective, noting that many of the top winners have yet to receive money…

There were over 400 winning bidders in the RDOF auction, but the top 10 winning bidders represent more than three-quarters of the total $9.2 billion tentatively awarded.

Over the last 18 months or so, the FCC has authorized funding for many smaller winning bidders and for five of the top 10 winning bidders. But the other five of the top 10 have not yet been deemed ready to authorize and questions have begun to arise about whether those other five will ever be authorized.

Several sources closely involved in the RDOF program have noted that the FCC has no deadline for reviewing RDOF long-form applications and might never approve some or any of those five bidders.

One of them is SpaceX, which plans to use satellite broadband to meet its service commitments. Concerns have arisen about the company’s ability to meet those commitments and about the longevity of that service. Another is LTD Broadband, which has received criticism about its ability to deploy fiber broadband as quickly and extensively as required.

OPPORTUNITY: Contract Broadband engineering expert to help PUC investigate LTD Broadband

An opportunity from the State to look into LTD Broadband and their ability to help Minnesota fully take advantage of RDOF funding. (Get more background.)

The telecommunications regulatory unit at the Minnesota Commerce Department (Department or Commerce) has the responsibility to conduct investigations on telecommunications matters,  advocate before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC or Commission) and enforce Minnesota statutes, rules, and orders of the Commission pertaining to telecommunications. The telecommunications regulatory unit at the Department is within the Division of Energy Resources. Minnesota Statutes section 216A.07 authorizes the Department to represent the public interest in all Commission proceedings.

The Department requests proposals for a technical expert or experts with engineering, financial and management expertise required to develop and successfully run gigabit broadband networks. The experts will determine whether LTD Broadband, LLC (LTD) has, or reasonably can be expected to obtain, the technical, managerial and financial resources to deploy and maintain a broadband network to meet expectations consistent with requirements of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to serve approximately 102,000 locations, as provisionally awarded by the FCC.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) and required forms are available to view and download on the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s RFP website at https://mn.gov/commerce/industries/rfp/ through the submission deadline.

Proposals must be submitted by no later than Friday, August 22, 2022 at 11:59 PM Central Time. Proposals must be submitted to energy.contracts@state.mn.us. Instructions for submitting proposals are detailed in the RFP. Late proposals will not be considered.

This request does not obligate the State to complete the work contemplated in this notice.  The State reserves the right to cancel this solicitation. All expenses incurred in responding to this notice are solely the responsibility of the responder.

FCC Proposes Fines of $4.3M Against 73 RDOF Applicants for Defaults – some with MN connections

The FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission today proposed $4,353,773.87 in fines against 73 applicants in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction (Auction 904) for apparently violating Commission requirements by defaulting on their bids between July 26, 2021 and March 10, 2022. The FCC provided clear guidance in its rules and notices on the monetary forfeitures associated with defaults in Auction 904. The bid defaults prevented 1,702 census block groups with 129,909 estimated locations in 36 states from seeing timely new investments in broadband infrastructure.

The applicants defaulted on their respective bids by withdrawing applications in certain areas, or failing to meet deadlines and requirements required in the auction rules after having already placed winning bids in Auction 904. In order to be authorized to receive universal service support, winning bidders or their assignees were required to provide information that demonstrated they are legally, financially, and technically qualified to fulfill the Auction 904 public interest obligations. The Notice of Apparent Liability proposes forfeitures for 73 applicants and two bidding consortia. However, the Notice does not propose forfeitures for applicants who defaulted on bids in response to the FCC’s letters identifying census blocks that may have been already served or raised significant concerns about wasteful spending.

There was one bidders found in default in MN…

  1. Aspire Networks 2, LLC (Aspire); FRN: 0030311583; File No.: EB-IHD-22- 00033836; NAL/Acct No.: 202232080013. Aspire is a competitive local exchange carrier registered in Delaware and Minnesota that provides internet services to rural locations in Minnesota.9 Aspire’s parent company, Atlantic Engineering Group, Inc. (AEG), a Georgia company, was part of the AEG and Heron Broadband I (Consortium).10 The Consortium timely submitted its Short-Form Application to participate in Auction 904 and was a successful bidder.11 The Consortium then assigned two CBGs to Aspire, which timely filed its Long-Form Application in Auction 904.12 On February 16, 2021, Aspire notified the Commission of its intent to default on its two CBGs subject to forfeiture in Minnesota.13 WCB declared Aspire to be in default on July 26, 2021, and referred the company to EB for enforcement action.14 The Commission finds that Aspire apparently committed two violations by defaulting on its CBGs subject to forfeiture, which places the company’s base forfeiture at $6,000.00.15 Aspire’s assigned CBGs in default subject to forfeiture amounted to $6,470,222.30, thereby capping the maximum possible forfeiture at $970,533.34, which is 15% of Aspire’s defaulted support subject to forfeiture in Auction 904.16 Because the base forfeiture is less than the 15% cap established in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order, 17 the Commission finds that the forfeiture amount of $6,000.00 against Aspire is appropriate here.

LTD was also one of the bidders found in default…

  1. LTD Broadband LLC (LTD Broadband); FRN: 0020926788; File No.: EB-IHD-22- 00033870; NAL/Acct No.: 202232080047. LTD Broadband is a Nevada company that provides fiber and fixed wireless service to customers, businesses and governmental entities located in rural areas.306 LTD Broadband timely submitted its Short-Form Application to participate in Auction 904 and was a successful bidder.307 On August 16, 2021, LTD Broadband notified the Commission of its intent to default on certain census blocks.308 On August 25, 2021, LTD Broadband also notified the Commission that it would not seek reconsideration of WCB’s denial of the company’s deadline waiver request for its Kansas and Oklahoma bids.309 The areas where LTD Broadband intended to default cover 768 CBGs subject to forfeiture. WCB declared LTD Broadband to be in default on December 16, 2021,310 and on January 28, 2022,311 and referred the company to EB for enforcement action. The Commission finds that LTD Broadband apparently committed violations by defaulting on 768 CBGs subject to forfeiture, which places the company’s base forfeiture at $2,304,000.00.312 LTD Broadband’s CBGs in default subject to forfeiture amounted to $78,496,778.40, thereby capping the maximum possible forfeiture at $11,774,516.76, which is 15% of LTD Broadband’s defaulted support subject to forfeiture in Auction 904.313 Because the base forfeiture is less than the 15% cap established in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order, 314 the Commission finds that the forfeiture amount of $2,304,000.00 against LTD Broadband is appropriate here

FCC Chair proposed an increase to minimum broadband speeds – a lesson for MN?

FCC reports on discussions to change the definition of broadband from 25 Mbps down and 3 up to 100/20. Funny enough those were/are the Minnesota speed goals: 25/3 by 2022 and 100/20 by 2026. We didn’t reach the 2022 goals but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take a look at what the FCC is considering for a future goal of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps …

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has circulated to her colleagues a Notice of Inquiry that would kick off the agency’s annual evaluation of the state of broadband across the country. As part of this assessment, Chairwoman Rosenworcel proposed increasing the national standard for minimum broadband speeds and proposed setting a long-term goal for broadband speed.
“The needs of internet users long ago surpassed the FCC’s 25/3 speed metric, especially during a global health pandemic that moved so much of life online,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “The 25/3 metric isn’t just behind the times, it’s a harmful one because it masks the extent to which low-income neighborhoods and rural communities are being left behind and left offline. That’s why we need to raise the standard for minimum broadband speeds now and while also aiming even higher for the future, because we need to set big goals if we want everyone
everywhere to have a fair shot at 21st century success.”
The Notice of Inquiry proposes to increase the national broadband standard to 100 megabits per second for download and 20 megabits per second for upload, and discusses a range of evidence supporting this standard, including the requirements for new networks funded by the
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The FCC previously set the broadband standard at 25/3 Mbps in 2015 and has not updated it since.
The Notice of Inquiry proposes to set a separate national goal of 1 Gbps/500 Mbps for the future.

Starlink is worried that potential use of 12 Ghz spectrum will interrupt service

Ars Technica reports

SpaceX is asking Starlink customers to help the company win a regulatory battle against Dish Network. In an email urging users to contact the Federal Communications Commission and members of Congress, SpaceX yesterday said a Dish plan to use the 12 GHz spectrum band for mobile service will cause “harmful interference [to Starlink users] more than 77 percent of the time and total outage of service 74 percent of the time, rendering Starlink unusable for most Americans.”

Those percentages come from a study SpaceX submitted to the FCC last week, which claims mobile service in the 12 GHz band would interfere with Starlink user terminals that use the same spectrum for downloads. Tuesday’s email from SpaceX was posted on the Starlink subreddit and covered by The Verge.

FCC Announces Nearly $159 Million In Emergency Connectivity Funding – one award in MN

The FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission today announced it is committing nearly $159 million in two new funding rounds through the Emergency Connectivity Program, helping to close the Homework Gap. The funding supports applications from all three of the program’s application windows, supporting over 300,000 students across the country, including in Alabama, Guam, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Texas, and West Virginia. Nearly $2 million from the first and second application windows will provide support in the upcoming school year for approximately 15 schools and 4 libraries. For the third application window, the Commission is committing nearly $157 million that will support over 350 schools, 50 libraries, and 4 consortia. Total funding committed to date is nearly $5.3 billion.

One award was made in Minnesota:

Holy Trinity Catholic School in South St Paul total award: $18,638.00

Libraries to partner with FCC to share info on broadband funding

The FCC reports

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and Crosby Kemper, Director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, today announced a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly promote public awareness of federal funding opportunities for broadband.  The partnership will work to generate efforts to promote the availability of affordable broadband programs, in light of the significant role that libraries and other community anchor institutions play in promoting digital access and inclusion.

“Libraries are some of our most trusted institutions—and rightfully so. They serve as community hubs connecting library patrons to a host of services, including providing internet access that many may lack at home.  The FCC has long enjoyed working side by side with them to support digital access opportunities, which is why I’m excited about this expanded partnership to raise awareness of broadband funding programs,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.  “Internet access is essential for modern life. We need to make sure everyone, everywhere, has a chance to connect.  This new partnership with help us do that. Working with IMLS to spread the word about these important programs, will help meet the connectivity needs of communities across the country.”

“The FCC’s E-Rate program, its Emergency Connectivity Fund, and so many other initiatives have benefited libraries and their communities, particularly the most underserved and under resourced, that it has always been needful for IMLS to work closely with FCC staff and Commissioners,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “We are honored to work with Chairwoman Rosenworcel to make sure the generous funding provided by Congress and the administration, as well as targeted universal service support, reaches many, even most, of those who historically have been unable even to apply for the funds available to them.”

The FCC looks at increasing broadband speed goals for rural fund areas

The FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission voted today to seek comment on a proposal to provide additional universal service support to certain rural carriers in exchange for increasing deployment to more locations at higher speeds.  The proposal would make changes to the Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program, with the goal of achieving widespread deployment of faster 100/20 Mbps broadband service throughout the rural areas served by rural carriers currently receiving A-CAM support.

The ACAM Broadband Coalition submitted a proposal to create an Enhanced A-CAM program, which is the impetus for the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted today.  Enhanced A-CAM, as proposed, would raise the broadband speeds required by the A-CAM programs to those generally required by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, while minimizing duplicative support across different federal broadband programs.  The Notice also proposes targeted modifications to the high-cost program rules to improve efficiency and efficacy in the program, including further streamlining of the annual reporting rules.

The Notice seeks comment on whether and how the Commission could:

 

  • Offer additional A-CAM support in exchange for increased broadband deployment obligations to additional locations and at higher speeds under an Enhanced A-CAM program.
  • Use the new Broadband DATA Act maps to determine any new deployment obligations.
  • Calculate support for an Enhanced A-CAM program, including whether the existing A-CAM framework continues to be appropriate.
  • Align specific proposals with Congressional intent, as well as programs at other agencies.
  • Improve the administration of the high-cost program and better safeguard the Universal Service Fund.

The FCC Commits $50 million in Emergency Connectivity Funding to Schools and Libraries – none in Minnesota

The FCC reports

The Federal Communications Commission today announced that it is committing over $50 million in the 15th wave of Emergency Connectivity Fund program support, helping to close the Homework Gap.  This latest round of funding is supporting 46 schools, 7 libraries, and 2 consortia across the country, including for students in American Samoa, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, and the US Virgin Islands.  The FCC just wrapped up its third filing window for applications last week and will be announcing results in coming days.

No awards were made in Minnesota.