The FCC has authorized support for two more companies that had winning bids in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction and has announced two more companies that plan to default on at least a portion of their winning bids.
The two companies that had funding authorized are California Internet, which does business as GeoLinks, and Shenandoah Cable Television.
GeoLinks’ funding was authorized for Arizona and Nevada, two of three states – along with California – where the company had winning bids. The company was allowed to bid to use fixed wireless to support above baseline (at least 100 Mbps) or slower service and to use fiber broadband to support gigabit service.
The company had winning bids totaling $79 million in Arizona and $5.7 million in Nevada.
Shenandoah’s authorizations were for bids in Virginia, where it had $4.9 million in winning bids. The company plans to use fixed wireless for its deployments. The company committed to deploying speeds in the above baseline tier or lower.
The company won’t be receiving the full $4.9 million for Virginia because, according to the default list released yesterday, it plans to default on a winning bid of $169,000 in the state.
The other company on yesterday’s default list is Peoples Communications, which will default on two small bids totaling about $4,000 in Texas.
As the FCC noted in a public notice, defaults typically have occurred when companies recognized that areas believed to lack broadband were found to have broadband available already.
The RDOF auction was designed to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband in unserved rural areas, with funding tentatively awarded to the company that committed to deploying service for the lowest level of support. A weighting system favored bids to deploy higher-speed, lower-latency services.
The auction was completed in December 2020 and as of now, many winning bidders have had all or most of their funding authorized. That includes a considerable number of companies that defaulted on a portion of their bids. There are also some companies that defaulted on all their winning bids and some that will not receive funding because the commission did not approve their long-form applications.
Some winning bidders, including Resound Networks, which was one of the top 10 winning bidders, are still waiting to hear whether the FCC has approved their long-form application. The top 10 winning bidders accounted for about three-quarters of the $9.2 billion tentatively awarded in the auction.
Resound Networks is one of several winning bidders that plan to use a mixture of fiber broadband and fixed wireless service to support gigabit service. The FCC spent over a year and a half weighing whether to approve long-form applications from those bidders but has begun to do so.
The complete list of new RDOF authorizations is available at this link.
The list of new defaults is at this link.