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Charter Communications, bidding as CCO Holdings, was the biggest Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction winner, measured by number of locations. The cable company won $1.22 billion in the auction, which was completed early last week, to bring service to over one million locations in 24 states.

Charter was not the biggest winner measured by funding, however. Using that metric, the biggest winner was LTD Broadband, which won $1.3 billion. That company won funding to bring broadband to 528,000 locations in 15 states.

Other big winners include:

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  • Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, which won $1.1 billion for 618,000 locations in 22 states
  • Space Exploration Technologies Corp, which won $885.5 million for 642,000 locations in 35 states
  • Windstream, which won $522.9 million for 192,567 locations in 18 states
  • Frontier, which won $370.9 million for 127,188 locations in eight states
  • AMG Technology Investment Group, which has been a bidding entity for Nextlink, which won $429.2 million for 206,136 locations in 12 states
  • ReSound Networks, which won $310,681,00 for 219,239 locations in seven states
  • CenturyLink, which won $262.3 million for 77,257 locations in 20 states

It’s commonplace for some large companies to bid under unfamiliar names, but neither LTD Broadband nor ReSound Networks appear to be bidding entities for more familiar names.

RDOF Auction Winners

Nearly all areas eligible for the RDOF auction (almost 99%) received a winning bid, according to an FCC press release. The total amount of funding awarded was $9.2 billion for 49 states. The auction had been budgeted to award up to $16 billion, which means that the non-awarded balance of $6.8 billion will be allocated toward phase two of the RDOF auction.

According to the FCC, nearly all RDOF auction winners (99.7%) have committed to deploying service at speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with 85% getting gigabit broadband. The results point to the success of the weighting system used in the auction, which was designed to favor bids to provide higher-speed service.

Nearly 400 (386) entities qualified to participate in the RDOF auction. Nearly half – 180 – were RDOF auction winners.

Big name companies that qualified to bid in the auction but are not on the RDOF auction winners list include Verizon and ViaSat.

Hughes Network Systems, which, like ViaSat, delivers broadband from geostationary satellites, won a relatively small $1.3 million in the auction. It’s interesting to compare the fate of the geostationary satellite operators with that of SpaceX, which operates non-geostationary satellites designed to provide lower latency. One of the auction weighting factors favored bids for lower-latency service.

Telecompetitor will be digging into the details and sharing more in the coming days and weeks. Follow our RDOF coverage here.

Updated to include information about entities that qualified to bid in the auction but did not win.

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4 thoughts on “RDOF Auction Winners: Charter, SpaceX, Windstream, $9.2B for Rural Broadband Awarded

  1. I hope the FCC keeps tabs on some of the winners.

    ReSound is a WISP in the Panhandle of Texas and a competitor to us. We have people complain to us often that they tried ReSound and could not get the service promised.

    I cannot see a WISP obtaining gigabit speeds.

    1. Hughes Network Systems and ViaSat are a joke for providing rural broadband. Very costly and you have to sign a contract that is binding before you get to try it. Now trial period.

    2. Airbox Canada and Globetel Holdings have Docsis based fixed wireless solutions that can provide Gigabit speeds. We have actually reached 2 Gigs to the home.

  2. Getting the utility companies/pole owners to complete their required work prior to the broadband companies actually connecting the broadband is always the long pole in the tent (no pun intended). But the broadband companies are dependent on their necessary work being completed (which the broadband companies pay them for in advance) prior to them starting to trench, lay fiber/cable, etc.

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