Phase 1 of the proposed Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) would target about six million homes in 48 states, according to the FCC, which plans to vote later this month on whether to adopt plans for the fund. The commission today released a breakdown of eligible locations by state.
The two states with the most to gain are California and Texas, which have estimated target funding for 421,000 and 381,000 locations, respectively. Other states that are expected to have more than 200,000 eligible locations are Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin.
RDOF Phase 1 Target
The proposed RDOF would award up to $16 billion in rural broadband funding over 10 years in Phase 1. This would occur through a reverse auction, with funding going to the service provider that offers to deploy service at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps for the lowest amount of support. A weighting system would favor bids to provide faster service with lower latency and higher monthly usage limits.
The total budget proposed for the RDOF is $20.4 billion. Funding not awarded in Phase 1 would be awarded in Phase 2.
Areas targeted for Phase 1 include census blocks that do not have broadband service at speeds of 25/3 Mbps available from any provider, according to information reported by service providers on Form 477, which the providers are required to file with the FCC.
It is widely agreed that Form 477 data overstates broadband availability because an entire census block is considered “served” even if only a single household can receive service at that speed. The FCC has changed the rules for Form 477 reporting with the goal of being able to determine more precisely where broadband is and is not available.
Some stakeholders have questioned whether the $4.4 billion targeted for Phase 2 will be adequate to cover Phase 2 deployment costs, and the FCC has said that after Phase 1, and when an estimate of target locations for Phase 2 is available, the commission will “reassess the total amount of funds available for Phase 2” and “revisit this issue at that time.”
A complete list of estimated locations to be targeted in Phase 1 of the RDOF by state is available in this press release.