The FCC said today that it has authorized $111.6 million in funding won through the Connect America Fund (CAF) auction to 10 entities to help cover the cost of bringing broadband to 37,148 rural locations where broadband is not currently available. The commission previously said it was ready to authorize CAF auction funding to many entities that had winning bids, but this is the first announcement of final authorization.

Obtaining and filing a valid letter of credit with USAC is the final step after a company is on the ready-to-authorize list, explained an FCC official in response to an inquiry from Telecompetitor. The commission puts entities on the ready-to-authorize list after it has reviewed and accepted their long-form applications.

CAF Auction Funding
Among those entities receiving final approval today were:

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  • ECO Services, an electric cooperative that will receive $22.2 million to deploy gigabit connectivity to more than 7,700 locations in Oklahoma
  • Electric cooperative United Services, which will receive $20.2 million for gigabit connectivity to more than 5,500 locations in Missouri
  • Hawaiian Telcom, which will receive $18.1 million to bring gigabit to more than 3,000 locations in its home state

Cincinnati Bell also received just over a million dollars in funding to bring gigabit service to 342 locations in Ohio and Kentucky, and several other providers will share the remainder of the funding to bring service at speeds between 25/3 Mbps and a gigabit to parts of Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.

To date, the FCC has issued three different notices about entities ready to authorize:

The majority of entities on today’s final approval list were from the February announcement, but a few companies from later announcements also made the list. 

Ten entities also have been deemed to have defaulted on their bids. Those entities are Fidelity Communications Company, Hanson Communications, Johnson Telephone Company, MGW Networks, NE Colorado Cellular, Pine Cellular Phones, SyncWave, Total Highspeed, Townes Wireless and WPS. An FCC official told us previously that any defaulted funding would roll over into the next CAF auction, which will target areas that did not have winning bids in the first CAF auction. 

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