The FCC said today that it is ready to authorize support for 15 more entities that won rural broadband funding through the Connect America Fund CAF II auction. Collectively, the 15 CAF II winners won 611 bids. Their inclusion on the list released today means that their long-form application has been reviewed and accepted. To obtain final authorization, they now must obtain a valid letter of credit (LOC).
The commission previously issued lists of CAF II winners that it was ready to authorize in March, April and May. In addition, the commission has released at least one list of companies that already have received final authorization.
CAF II Winners Ready to Authorize
Entities on today’s ready to authorize list include:
- 3E8 Broadband Solutions
- Air Link Rural Broadband
- Aristotle Unified Communications
- AtLink Services
- Citynet West Virginia
- CRC Communications
- Crystal Automation Systems
- Echo Wireless Broadband
- Farmers Mutual Telephone Company
- Orange County REMC
- Plains Internet
- Southern Plains Cable
- Texhoma Fiber
- Tri-County Telephone Association
- Tri-Co Connections
According to the FCC, two of the entities have not yet been designated as eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in certain states – TriCo Connections in Pennsylvania and Plains Internet in Texas. But the FCC said it was considering the companies “ready to authorize” because they had submitted their ETC applications to the states in good faith, even though those applications have not yet been approved. (See update below.)
Letters of Credit, Defaults
A sentence printed in bold and an accompanying link in the public notice announcing the 15 entities suggest that the process of obtaining valid letters of credit has had some glitches.
“Prior to submitting their letters of credit, we encourage long-form applicants to view and share with their issuing banks the Letter of Credit Common Errors List available on USAC’s website,” says the bolded sentence.
The information about common LOC errors can be found at this link.
Today’s public notice also revealed that two entities have notified the commission that they do not intend to pursue some of their winning bids. These bids are thus considered to be in default, the commission explained. They join several other entities previously deemed to be in default.
The commission said in today’s public notice that it would refer the defaulting bidders to the enforcement bureau.
Details about the 15 entities that are ready to authorize can be found on this list.
The CAF II auction awarded a total of nearly $1.5 billion over 10 years to more than 100 entities to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to rural areas where broadband is not currently available.
Update- TriCo Connections emailed Telecompetitor to say that the company received its ETC status from the Pennsylvania PUC over a month ago. This was conveyed to the FCC with the company’s long form, the company said.