FCC announces 386 bidders made the grade for first RDOF auction

The FCC announces its list of 386 companies that qualify to bid in the first auction for its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). (Pixabay)

On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission announced its list of 386 companies that have qualified to bid in the first auction for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

Beginning Oct. 29, the qualified vendors will compete against each other in Phase 1 of the auction to see who will be able to cash-in on the $16 billion, 10-year RDOF program that was designed to build and connect gigabit broadband speeds, along with enabling lower latency, in unserved rural areas.

“With today’s announcement, we are taking one of the last steps before ringing the opening bell for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, our biggest and boldest step yet to bridge the digital divide for over 10 million unserved consumers across rural America,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “The unprecedented interest in this auction is due in large part to key decisions by the FCC, including providing substantial funding and promoting technological neutrality toward potential bidding participants, as well as our staff’s extensive work to spread awareness of the program and ensure the broadest participation in a competitive auction that will deliver real benefits to rural Americans across the country.”

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceTelecom!

The Telecom industry is an ever-changing world where big ideas come along daily. Our subscribers rely on FierceTelecom as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data on the intersection of telecom and media. Sign up today to get telecom news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

The FCC said the number of qualified bidders represented a more than 75% increase in the number of bidders than were in 2018’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction

The qualified bidders included Altice USA, Cincinnati Bell, Cox Communications, Frontier Communications, Hughes Network Systems, Mediacom, SpaceX, US Cellular, Viasat, Verizon, Windstream and Lumen (formerly CenturyLink.) While "Charter" and "Spectrum" were not on the list of qualified bidders, Charter looks to be taking part under the name of "CCO Holdings."

In early September, Charter was among the 384 companies whose applications were deemed incomplete, but the FCC gave them until Sept. 23 to fix their applications.

RELATED: Charter throws its hat into RDOF ring, which could be bad news for CenturyLink and Frontier

In July, Charter announced its intention to participate in the RDOF auction in an 8-K filing while Comcast decided not participate in the first round of funding.

Last week the FCC released a state-by-state list of areas eligible for bidding in the Phase I auction. Phase 1 will focus on rural areas that don't have broadband while Phase 2 will focus on areas with partial service.

Also in September, Democrats criticized Pai for the FCC’s lack of action on broadband mapping, but Pail blamed Congress for a lack of funding, according to a story by Broadband Breakfast. In August, the FCC approved its new Digital Opportunity Data Collection plan to improve data collection and mapping for rural broadband to help close the digital divide.

Suggested Articles

Huawei's quarterly revenue growth expanded at a slower rate due to U.S. sanctions and the impact of Covid-19 on its consumer sector.

Verizon Business has added VNS Application Edge into its Virtual Network Services portfolio to fuel enterprises' edge and cloud deployments.

The industry was a bit surprised this week when Juniper Networks pulled the trigger on Boston-area startup 128 Technology for $450 million in cash.