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Nearly 400 entities (386) have made the final RDOF auction bidder list, qualifying them to bid in Phase 1 of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, which will award up to $16 billion to cover some of the costs of deploying broadband to areas where broadband service isn’t currently available.

The final RDOF auction bidder list includes large and small telcos, rural electric companies, mobile providers that also offer fixed wireless service, cable companies, satellite broadband providers and wireless internet service providers (WISPs).

Some applicants filed to bid using unfamiliar names, making it difficult to compile a comprehensive list of the largest companies planning to bid. Among the largest bidders, however, are Verizon, CenturyLink, Cox Communications, Hughes Network Systems, Viasat, Cincinnati Bell, Frontier, Windstream, Altice USA, Midcontinent Communications (Midco) and Space Explorations Technologies (Space X).

The list was whittled down from 505 entities that initially applied to participate in the auction. Initially, the majority of applicants submitted incomplete applications, but as the new list reveals, most of the entities that initially filed incomplete applications have now moved to the completed applications list.

The 100+ applicants that didn’t make it to the final RDOF auction bidder list are primarily smaller companies. And even without those applicants, the list of final bidders is 75% larger than the list of entities that qualified to bid in the 2018 Connect America Fund CAF II auction, as the FCC noted in a press release.

And the full number of eligible bidders actually exceeds 386 because in some cases, a consortium of companies is bidding together as a single entity.

The CAF II auction was a rural broadband funding auction that served as a prototype for the RDOF auction. Like CAF II, the RDOF auction will be a reverse auction that will award funding for an area to the entity that commits to deploying service at the lowest level of support.

The RDOF auction is scheduled to begin later this month. Bidding will be by census block group, and a list of eligible census blocks was released last week.

Rural broadband consultancy previously mapped the current service territories of the majority of entities that applied to participate in the RDOF auction.

The final RDOF auction bidder list can be found at this link.

Entities that are not qualified to bid can be found at this link.

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