More than two years after the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction was completed, the FCC said today that it is ready to authorize funding for Resound Networks. The company, which plans to use a mixture of fixed wireless and fiber broadband to support speeds up to 1 Gbps, is the last of the 10 largest RDOF winning bidders to hear whether or not the commission would approve its bids.
The company tentatively won $311 million in the auction, which was designed to award funding to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to unserved and underserved areas. Funding was tentatively awarded to the company that committed to deploying service for the lowest level of support.
The top 10 winning bidders were responsible for more than three quarters of the $9.2 billion tentatively won in the auction. Two of those winners – LTD Broadband and SpaceX – were rejected by the FCC. A third company – Starry – was ready to be authorized but subsequently defaulted on its bids when its stock price plunged after an unsuccessful initial public offering (IPO).
The other winning bidders among the top 10 – including Charter, Nextlink and others – have had all or most of their funding authorized.
The FCC didn’t authorize bidders planning to use fixed wireless to provide gigabit service until a few months ago, apparently because critics questioned the technology’s ability to support those speeds.
Authorization is a two-step process. A company is first put on a ready-to-authorize list, after which it has about two weeks to submit a bankruptcy opinion letter and a letter of credit, which the FCC must review prior to granting full authorization.
The states for which the FCC said it is ready to authorize RDOF funding for Resound are Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
The FCC also said today Resound would default on one RDOF winning bid in Texas for $30,600. Defaults for one other company – Xiber – also were announced.
Satellite broadband provider Hughes Network Systems also appeared on today’s ready-to-authorize list for two bids in Rhode Island.
A full list of new winning RDOF bids that the FCC is ready to authorize can be found at this link.
The list of defaults can be found at this link.