rural landscape

The FCC said today that it has authorized Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) support for two more companies that won funding in the RDOF auction. The companies are Cyber Broadband for deployments in Alabama and E-Fiber San Juan for deployments in Utah.

The RDOF program used a reverse auction to award funding to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to unserved rural areas, with funding for an area tentatively going to the company that committed to deploying service for the lowest level of support.

Winning bidders were required to submit long-form applications, which the FCC must review and approve before putting the company on a ready-to-authorize list. At that time, the company has about two weeks to provide a bankruptcy opinion letter and a letter of credit, which the commission must review and approve before the company is put on an authorized list.

The FCC application search function again was not working properly today from any of three different browsers that we tried or doing searches by company name or FRN number. Accordingly, Telecompetitor was unable to confirm the speeds that the two newly authorized companies committed to delivering or the technology they plan to use.

However, Cyber Broadband’s web page shows that the company uses fixed wireless technology. E-Fiber San Juan’s web page shows that it is a unit of EmeryTelcom and that it offers speeds up to 1 Gbps but does not detail the technology used.

The RDOF auction was completed in late 2020 and most of the companies that had winning bids have had most of their funding authorized. The commission also has rejected a portion of some bidders’ wins for various reasons, including that an area believed to be unserved actually has service available. Two of the top 10 winning bidders – SpaceX and LTD Broadband — had all their bids rejected, although SpaceX, which uses low-earth satellite technology, has appealed that rejection.

The top 10 bidders were responsible for about three-quarters of the $9.2 billion tentatively awarded in the RDOF auction. As the FCC authorizes RDOF funding for the two latest winners, one of the largest winning bidders – Resound Networks, which plans to use a mixture of fixed wireless and fiber broadband to provide gigabit speeds – has not yet appeared on a ready-to-authorize list.

A full list of the bids authorized today can be found here.

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