Congratulations to the 180 service providers that won FCC reverse auction for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). You are on your way to providing over 10 million rural Americans with access to get high-speed internet service. Phase I of the RDOF auction was set to disperse $16B in funding, but the unprecedented response resulted in $9.2B being awarded covering 99.7% of the locations that will now have the ability to get 100Mbps. And 85% with 1Gbps!
If you are one of the service providers that has won, you are beginning your plans on filing your Form 683 to ensure you don’t lose the funding.
“There are several stages, with several deadlines, that the FCC is requiring winners to complete before they get final approval of funding, and the deadlines for these steps will ostensibly run until June 2021. But there’s no need to wait for each of these deadlines. Winners can start preparing their long forms, system designs, etc. now, so that when the window opens on January 14, they’re ready to submit everything, and start their projects that much sooner. For the significant outdoor work that is inherent in each of these projects, and particularly for rural areas in the northern regions of the country, starting in April will be significantly better than starting in September.”Michael Paddock, CEO of the Grants Office
You also are working with your internal teams to plan the build-out that is required to deliver broadband to the portion of the auction you won for 5.2 million unserved homes and businesses. Now is the time to make sure your teams are considering a simpler, more flexible and cost-efficient network designed to deliver the connectivity your rural customers need today and in the future. This network foundation should provide the ability for open access, software defined network transport, automation, and programmability. This will ensure that you can deliver the quality of service, resiliency and security to your winning RDOF bid.
Just as the FCC intends to bridge the digital divide, Cisco intends to help power a more inclusive future for all. Find out more about our network foundation for rural broadband.