Several more winning bidders in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction have received eligible telecommunications carriers (ETC) designation for areas where they tentatively won funding. The new designations are for states where the FCC Is responsible for awarding designations.
Obtaining ETC designation is a requirement for companies to receive final authorization to receive their RDOF funding but receiving ETC status does not necessarily mean the companies will receive final RDOF authorization.
“ETC designation covering RDOF supported areas… should not be interpreted as an entitlement to support or an indication that the Bureau will ultimately authorize the petitioner for support,” the FCC cautioned in the order granting the new ETC designations.
RDOF Winning Bidders Gaining ETC Status
Charter Communications, which was one of the biggest winning bidders in the RDOF auction, was granted ETC designation in several states under various monikers, including Bright House Networks Information Services, Charter Fiberlink and Time Warner Cable Information Services in Alabama; Time Warner Cable Information Services in New Hampshire; and Charter Fiberlink and Time Warner Cable Information Services in Tennessee.
Also receiving ETC designation were Conexon Connect in Florida and Tennessee, as well as Talkie Communications in Delaware and Maryland.
The RDOF auction was designed to award funding for rural areas lacking broadband service. Funding for an area was tentatively awarded to the company that committed to deploying service for the lowest level of support. A total of $9.2 billion was tentatively awarded, but only a small portion of winning bids have received final approval.
The FCC appears to be closely scrutinizing winning bidders’ long-form applications, which were submitted after the companies were tentatively awarded funding. It has been over 10 months since the auction was completed.
The commission previously granted ETC designation to over 50 winning bidders.
While some states handle ETC designation requests at the state level, there are several states where the FCC is responsible for the designations.