Nebraska and American Flag

Nebraska has awarded $21 million to four broadband providers through the state’s universal service program using a reverse auction. The funding will go toward connecting households in rural parts of the state where high-speed broadband is not available.

The four providers are Great Plains Communications, Hamilton Consortium, Midstates and Pinpoint. The buildouts will reach 1,100 households.

As the Nebraska Public Service Commission explained in a press release, the funding became available when it was unused by or withheld from Frontier and Windstream. Both companies are local incumbent providers in parts of the state, and according to the PSC “have traditionally provided only voice service.”

The PSC awarded over $5.7 million of more than $5.8 million that was available for Windstream areas. In Frontier areas, the PSC awarded over $15.2 million of nearly $16 million available.

Bidding in the auction began on January 22 and the final round was held on March 11.

In a prepared statement, Dan Watermeier, chair of the Nebraska PSC, declared the reverse auction a success.

“We are extremely pleased with participation and outcome of the 2024 reverse auction,” he said. “This process is proving to be a valuable method in ensuring distributed [Nebraska universal service] funds are being used for broadband buildout in Nebraska’s unserved areas.”

A reverse auction awards funding for an area to the company that commits to deploying service at the lowest level of support. Nebraska first began using reverse auctions to award clawed-back universal service funds in 2022.

Although reverse auctions became unpopular after problems with the FCC Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the Nebraska program has several rules in place designed to avoid some of those issues.

Join the Conversation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Don’t Miss Any of Our Content

What’s happening with broadband and why is it important? Find out by subscribing to Telecompetitor’s newsletter today.

You have Successfully Subscribed!