rural landscape

The FCC said Friday that it has authorized RDOF winning bids for Windstream in New York and Florida and for Charter (bidding as Time Warner Cable) for North Carolina. Nearly 40 companies appear on the new RDOF authorization list, the majority of which are smaller companies, including telecom companies, electric cooperatives and others.

The new Charter authorizations come in addition to numerous others previously announced for the company. Charter was one of the largest winning bidders in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction.

Windstream also was one of the top 10 winning bidders in the RDOF auction and also has had funding authorized previously for numerous states.

The RDOF program is designed to provide funding to companies to cover some of the costs of making broadband available to rural areas currently lacking high-speed service. Winning bidders were determined through a reverse auction that awarded funding for an area to the company that committed to deploying service for the lowest level of support, with a weighting system favoring bids for higher-speed, lower-latency service.

Both Charter and Windstream plan to deploy fiber broadband to meet their RDOF deployment commitments.

When the FCC has reviewed and approved a winning RDOF bidder’s long-form application, the company is put on a ready-to-authorize list, after which point the company has about two weeks to provide a letter of credit and bankruptcy opinion letter before funding can be fully authorized.

Of the top 10 winning bidders that plan to deploy fiber broadband, most have had funding authorized or the company has been deemed ready-to-authorize in at least some states. One exception is LTD Broadband, the largest winning bidder, whose winning bids have been questioned by opponents who say the company may not have the resources to meet its commitments.

Also waiting to hear on their bids are companies that plan to use fixed wireless to provide gigabit service and SpaceX, which plans to use low-earth orbit satellites to provide service.

A complete list of the new RDOF authorizations can be found at this link.

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