UTC Praises FCC’s Rural Broadband Auction Planned to Begin July 24
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 | Comments

Utilities Technology Council (UTC) President and CEO Joy Ditto praised the FCC’s approval of procedures for the Connect America Fund Phase II auction.

At its Jan. 30 open meeting, the FCC scheduled the Connect America Fund Phase II auction, which it said will provide nearly $2 billion during the next decade to expand fixed, high-speed internet service in unserved rural areas, to begin July 24.

Qualified providers will compete to offer voice and broadband service in unserved areas where, absent subsidies, there is no business case for expanding or providing service. The auction is the first reverse multiple-round auction to provide ongoing Connect America Fund support for fixed broadband and voice service in high-cost rural areas. The auction will also provide opportunities for new entrants, including rural telco, fixed wireless, satellite, cable, price cap and electric utility broadband providers, regardless of technology, a public notice said.

“While we are still analyzing this morning’s action, we applaud the FCC for moving forward on this important matter,” Ditto said. “Electric utilities are key facilitators of broadband services. Several UTC member electric utilities are providing broadband to their constituents and beyond in areas that are not well served, if served at all, by private telecommunications providers. The upcoming Connect America Fund II auction could support electric utility access to this funding and go a long way in expanding broadband throughout the U.S.”

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