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FCC Approves Three NRTC Consortium Members’ RDOF Awards

Randy Sukow / Oct 22, 2021

Three NRTC members – Dixie Electric Power Association in Mississippi along with LaGrange County REMC, and Miami-Cass REMC, both in Indiana – are among the latest participants in the 2020 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auction to emerge successfully from the FCC’s “long-form” review. The three were part of the NRTC Phase I RDOF Consortium, which was the winning bidder on several locations in 14 states with support totaling $156 million to be paid over 10 years. However, it has taken about 10 months for the Commission to approve the long forms. Several more long-form approvals remain.

This week’s announcement was one of a series of recent RDOF “funding waves,” which so far have totaled about $1 billion. The FCC originally announced winning bids for $9 billion in support late last year, but that total is likely to decrease after the Commission completes the long-form reviews. This latest wave was $554 million to 11 different providers serving 180,000 locations in 19 states.

Each of those providers is planning fiber-to-the-home service at 1 gigabit per second speeds. “This is good news for consumers waiting far too long for broadband in parts of the country that have yet to be served,” Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a press release.

The FCC released a long-form approvals list. NRTC Consortium winners appear on pages 1 through 7:
 

  • Dixie Electric, appearing on the list as DE Fastlink, LLC, had winning bids in 47 locations for approximately $21 million in support over 10 years.
  • Miami-Cass REMC won in 40 locations for $4.67 million.
  • LaGrange County REMC won in 17 locations for about $1.62 million.

Expect to see additional long-form approval announcements in coming weeks, and perhaps months. After the reverse auction, many organizations including NRTC, NRECA and NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association, filed letters with the FCC questioning many of the winning bidders’ eligibilities to participate in RDOF. The FCC has been proceeding slowly through the long-form process to “clean up and refocus the program.”

NRTC Funding Services is keeping track of RDOF announcements and preparing for the FCC RDOF Phase II reverse auction, which eventually will distribute billions of additional dollars to rural broadband projects. In the meantime, other federal agencies, state and local governments are organizing programs to distribute additional broadband funding at historic levels. NRTC has posted the recording of a webinar updating some of those programs.

For more information, contact NRTC Funding Services at funding@nrtc.coop.

 


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