Summary

October 29, 2020 - November 25, 2020
General Information

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is the Commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide.  On August 1, 2019, the Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing to establish the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund to bring high speed fixed broadband service to rural homes and small businesses that lack it.  On January 30, 2020, the Commission adopted the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Report and Order, which establishes the framework for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, building on the success of the CAF Phase II auction by using reverse auctions in two phases.  The Phase I auction, which began on October 29, 2020, and ended on November 25, 2020, awarded support to bring broadband to over five million homes and businesses in census blocks that were entirely unserved by voice and broadband with download speeds of at least 25 Mbps.  Phase II will cover locations in census blocks that are partially served, as well as locations not funded in Phase I.  The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will ensure that networks stand the test of time by prioritizing higher network speeds and lower latency, so that those benefitting from these networks will be able to use tomorrow’s Internet applications as well as today’s.

For additional details, please refer to the Fact Sheet tab above.

 

Final List of Eligible Areas — October 8, 2020

 

Updated List of Eligible Areas — June 25, 2020

 

Preliminary List of Eligible Areas — March 17, 2020

 

Contact

Please email questions to auction904@fcc.gov.

Fact Sheet

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Information

Budget

A total of $20.4 billion to be awarded over 10 years. Up to $16 billion will be made available for Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, and the remaining Phase I budget, along with $4.4 billion, will be awarded for Phase II of the auction.

Support Term

10 years of support; support disbursed in equal monthly installments. Disbursements to winning bidders begin after the winning bidder submits a long-form application and becomes authorized to receive support.

Deployment

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund support recipients must:

  • Offer commercially at least one voice and one broadband service meeting the relevant service requirements to all locations within the awarded area in the following timeframe:
    • 40% of the required number of locations in a state by the end of third year of support and an additional 20% by the end of the fourth and fifth years of support
    • By the end of year six, revised location totals will be announced:
      • If there are fewer locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the revised number of locations by end of year six. If there are more locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the cost model-estimated number of locations by the end of year six and must serve the remainder of locations by the end of year eight
    • All support recipients must serve locations newly built after the revised location total but before the end of year eight upon reasonable request
  • The exact deployment schedule is determined by the carriers themselves, not the FCC.  
  • File with USAC annual reports and build-out milestone certifications, as well as data on the locations where service is available.  Failure to meet the terms and conditions of support can result in increased reporting obligations and possible withholding and/or recovery of support.
  • Offer at least one broadband and voice service at rates that are reasonably comparable to the rates for similar service in urban areas.  The FCC uses its annual Urban Rate Survey to determine the range of rates that are reasonably comparable.

Technology-Neutral Service Tiers

Bids will be accepted for four performance tiers, each with varying speed and usage allowances, and either high or low latency. Winning bidders must offer the service associated with their winning bid.

 

 Performance Tier

Speed

Usage Allowance

Weight

 Minimum

≥ 25/3 Mbps

≥ 250 GB or U.S. average,
whichever is higher

50

 Baseline

≥ 50/5 Mbps

≥ 250 GB or U.S. median,
whichever is higher

35

 Above Baseline

≥ 100/20 Mbps

≥ 2 TB

20

 Gigabit

≥ 1 Gbps/500 Mbps

≥ 2 TB

0

 

 

 Latency

Requirement

Weight

 Low Latency

≤ 100 ms

0

 High Latency

≤ 750 ms & MOS of ≥4

40

 

Bids will be considered simultaneously, so that bidders proposing to meet one set of performance standards compete directly against bidders that propose to meet other performance standards.  Bids will be placed as a percentage of the reserve price for the area subject to the bid in a descending clock auction, with lower bids selected first, with a preference for higher speeds and lower latency.  The support amount that a winning bidder receives accounts for any weights associated with the performance tier and latency.

Eligible Areas

The Commission made eligible for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction census blocks where no provider is offering, or has committed to offering, either via the CAF II auction, the USDA ReConnect program, or state-specific programs, service of at least 25/3 Mbps (based on Form 477 data). 

The FCC will publish an initial list of eligible census blocks, and, after a challenge process, the FCC will publish a final list of eligible areas.  

Two-Stage Application Process

Short-Form Application — Entities seeking to participate in the auction have to establish baseline financial and technical capabilities in order to be found eligible to bid. There are two pathways for establishing eligibility:

  • Demonstrate two years of experience providing a voice, broadband, and/or electric distribution or transmission service and submit one year of audited financials (if an applicant with at least two years of experience is not audited in the ordinary course of business, it can instead submit one year of audited financials within 180 days after being announced as a winning bidder but has to submit one year of unaudited financials with its short-form application), or
  • Submit three years of audited financials with the short-form application and a letter of interest from an eligible bank willing to issue a letter of credit for a specified amount

Entities will also be required to provide high-level technical information to demonstrate they have the technical qualifications to meet the applicable performance tier and latency requirements.

Entities can wait until after they were announced as winning bidders to obtain eligible telecommunication carrier designations from the relevant states or the Commission, if applicable.

 

Long-Form Application — Winning bidders or their designees must:

  • Provide in their long-form applications additional information about qualifications, funding, and the network that they intend to use to meet their obligations
  • Within a specified number of days, submit a letter from an eligible bank committing to issue a letter of credit; upon notification that the entity is ready to be authorized, must obtain a letter of credit from an eligible bank that remains open and covers disbursements until compliance with certain service milestones is complete and verified
  • Within 180 days of being announced as winning bidders, certify they are eligible telecommunications carriers in any areas for which they seek support and submit relevant documentation.

Once a long form application is approved, the long-form applicant will be authorized to begin receiving support. 

Any entity that filed a short-form application or any long-form applicant is subject to a forfeiture in the event it defaults prior to becoming authorized to receive support.  Defaults include, but are not limited to, failing to meet submission deadlines, defaulting on a bid, or otherwise being disqualified for any reason. 

Timeline & Deadlines

 Phase I Short Form Application Filing Window OpensJuly 1, 2020
 Phase I Short-Form Application Filing DeadlineJuly 15, 2020
 Phase I Mock AuctionOctober 23, 26, 27, 2020
 Phase I Bidding BeginsOctober 29, 2020
 Phase I Divide Winning Bids Process Window OpensDecember 9, 2020
 Phase I Divide Winning Bids Process DeadlineDecember 22, 2020
 Phase I Form 683 Long-Form Filing Window OpensJanuary 14, 2021
 Phase I Form 683 Long-Form Filing DeadlineJanuary 29, 2021

 

Related Links

Releases P

12/20/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-1185)
WCB Announces Conclusion of RDOF Auction 904 Application Review; Long-Form Applications Made Public

12/20/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-1184)
Wavelength's RDOF Bids in Default Announced

11/29/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-1115)
WCB Provides Guidance to High-Cost Support Recipients Regarding Engagement with States and Tribal Governments

8/22/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-744)
RDOF Post-Authorization Defaults Announced

7/18/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-616)
Auction 904 Defaults Public Notice

5/23/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-434)
Auction 904 Defaults Public Notice

1/13/2023
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 23-33)
Seventeenth Auction 904 Authorization Public Notice

12/16/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-1321)
Thirteenth Auction 904 Ready-to-Authorize Public Notice and Defaults Public Notice

12/15/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-1322)
Sixteenth Auction 904 Authorization Public Notice

11/10/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-1181)
Fifteenth RDOF Authorization and Defaults Public Notice

10/12/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-1086)
Fourteenth RDOF Authorization Public Notice

9/13/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-944)
Thirteenth RDOF Authorization Public Notice

8/31/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-911)
Twelfth RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice/Bid Defaults

8/10/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-848)
Eleventh RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice/Bid Defaults

8/5/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-826)
Twelfth RDOF Authorization Public Notice


7/14/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-759)
Eleventh RDOF Authorization Public Notice
 

6/14/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-634)
Tenth RDOF Authorization Public Notice/Bid Defaults
 

5/25/22
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-581)
Tenth RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice
 

5/12/22
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-523)
Ninth RDOF Authorization Public Notice
 

5/3/22
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-483)
Ninth RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice/Bid Defaults
 

4/15/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-402)
Eighth RDOF Authorization Public Notice
 

3/25/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-317)
Eighth RDOF Ready-to-Authorize Public Notice
 

3/15/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-280)
Seventh RDOF Support Authorization Public Notice
 

3/10/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-185)
Seventh RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice; Bid Defaults PN


2/14/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-151)
Sixth RDOF Support Authorization Public Notice
 

1/28/2002
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-96)
Sixth RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice; Bid Defaults PN
 

1/14/2022
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 22-38)
Fifth RDOF Support Authorization Public Notice
 

12/16/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1582)
Fifth RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice; Bid Defaults PN
 

12/14/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1560)
Fourth RDOF Support Authorization Public Notice
 

11/23/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1471)
WCB Seeks Comment on E Fiber ETC Petition
 

11/12/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1420)
Third RDOF Support Authorization Public Notice
 

11/10/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1402)
RDOF Fourth Ready-to-Authorize Public Notice
 

10/20/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1310)
RDOF Third Ready-to-Authorize Public Notice
 

10/14/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1287)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support Authorized for 469 Winning Bids
 

10/7/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1256)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Preliminary Defaults Announced
 

10/7/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1255)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Ready-to-Authorize Public Notice
 

10/1/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1242)
WCB Seeks Comment on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Petitions for ETC
 

9/15/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-1158)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support Authorized for 466 Winning Bids
 

7/26/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-910)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Bid Defaults Announced
 

7/26/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-909)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Support for 1,460 Winning Bids Ready to be Authorized
 

5/28/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-624)
Procedures PN for Viasat Application Review for Auction 904
 

5/4/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-515)
WCB Seeks Comment on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Petitions for ETC
 

4/13/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-418)
WCB Seeks Comment on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund ETC Petitions
 

3/8/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-279)
Comment Sought on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Petitions for Designation as an ETC
 

2/18/2021
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-170)
417 Long-Form Applicants in Auction 904
 

1/13/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 21-44)
Auction 904 Educational Materials Available; Technical Descriptions and LOC Commitments Due Feb. 16, 2021
 

12/7/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-1422)
Auction 904 Winning Bidders
 

11/30/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-1409)
2021 Urban Rate Survey, Posting of Data, and Minimum Usage Allowance
 

10/21/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-1242)
Additional Data File and Updated GIS Data Available for Auction 904
 

10/13/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-1197)
Auction 904 Qualified Bidders
Identifies 386 applicants qualified to bid in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction (Auction 904)
 

10/8/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-1173)
WCB and OEA Release Final List and Map of Eligible Areas for Auction 904
WCB and OEA, in coordination with RBATF, announce the release of the final list of census blocks and a map of areas that are eligible for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction (Auction 904)
 

10/2/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-1161)
Auction 904 Bidding Educational Materials Available
Announces the availability of educational materials for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction (Auction 904)
 

9/1/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-960)
Auction 904 Application Status
Announces the status of short-form applications to participate in Auction 904
 

7/1/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-701)
Auction 904 Short-Form Application Filing Window Open
 

6/25/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-665)
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction Updated Eligible Areas
Public Notice Resolving Challenges to Eligible Areas for the Rural DIgital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction
 

6/15/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-626)
Instructions Available for Short-Form Application for Auction 904
Announces the availability of the short-form filing instructions and online tutorial for Auction 904
 

6/11/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (FCC 20-77)
FCC Adopts Procedures for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
FCC Adopts Bidding Procedures For October's $16 Billion Rural Broadband Auction. Applications Will Be Accepted July 1 to July 15; Bidding Starts October 29.
 

6/11/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-611)
Technical Guide Available for Auction 904 Bidding Procedures
Provides examples and additional technical and mathematical details regarding the bidding procedures for Auction 904
 

4/20/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-422)
FCC Announces Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Webinar for State, Local, Tribal, and Territorial Government Officials
Webinar will be held at 2:00 pm EDT on May 20, 2020
 

4/16/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-419)
Comment Sought on Johnson Telephone Waiver of Auction 904 Prohibition
Wireline Competition Bureau Seeks Comment on Petition for Waiver Filed by Johnson Telephone Company Regarding Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Prohibition Against CAF Phase II Defaulters
 

4/15/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-415)
FCC Announces Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction Webinar
Webinar will be held at 4:00 pm EDT on May 5, 2020
 

4/14/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-408)
Comment PN: Charter Rural Digital Opportunity Eligible Areas Waiver
Wireline Competition Bureau Seeks Comment on Charter Communications, Inc. Petition for Waiver of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Eligible Area Rules
 

3/20/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-307)
WCB Provides LOC Guidance for Eligibility of Non-U.S. Banks
 

3/17/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-275)
WCB Releases Preliminary List and Map of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Eligible Areas
 

3/2/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (FCC 20-21)
Comment Sought on Competitive Bidding Procedures and Certain Program Requirements for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
 

3/2/2020
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 20-210)
Technical Guide Available for Auction 904 Proposed Bidding Procedures
 

7/10/2018
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 18-714)
WCB Reminds Carriers of Federal ETC Designation Process
 

12/8/2016
PUBLIC NOTICE (DA 16-1363)
WCB Guidance on Location Reporting for Carriers Receiving CAF Support

Releases O

5/23/2023
ORDER (23-430)
Auction 904 Order on Reconsideration
 

5/01/2023
NAL (FCC 23-33)
FCC Proposes Over $8M in Fines Against 22 RDOF Applicants for Defaults
 

8/31/2022
ORDER (DA 22-912)
RDOF Waiver Request Dismissal Order
 

8/30/2022
ORDER (22-906)
RDOF 6th ETC Order
 

8/10/2022
ORDER (DA 22-847)
Auction 904 Order on Reconsideration
 

7/22/2022
NAL (FCC 22-59)
FCC Proposes Over $4 Million in Fines Against Auction 904 Defaulters


7/20/2022
ORDER (DA 22-781)
RDOF Fifth ETC Designation Order
 

5/3/2022
NAL (DA 22-482)
FCC Proposes $100K Fine Against LTD for Prohibited Communications
 

3/25/2022
ORDER (DA 22-318)
RDOF Third ETC Deadline Waiver Order

2/22/2022
ORDER (DA 22-184)
RDOF Fourth ETC Designation Order
 

1/12/2022
ORDER (DA 22-35)
Windstream Designated as an ETC in RDOF-Eligible Areas in FL and NY
 

12/16/2021
ORDER (DA 21-1581)
Hotwire Major Modification Waiver Denial Order

10/20/2021
ORDER (DA 21-1311)
RDOF Second ETC Deadline Waiver Order

10/14/2021
ORDER (DA 21-1286)
Second Rural Digital Opportunity Fund ETC Designation Order

7/26/2021
ORDER (DA-21-908)
RDOF ETC Deadline Waiver Order

6/8/2021
Auction 904 ETC Designation Order

5/27/2021
Protective Order for Auction 904 Viasat Application for Review

10/13/2020
FCC Adopts Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Application Waiver Order

10/8/2020
WCB and OEA Address WIAW Auction 904 Petition for Reconsideration 

9/29/2020
FCC Resolves Auction 904 Reconsideration Petitions Ahead of Bidding

9/1/2020
Auction 904 Filing Deadline Waivers Denied

6/30/2020
WCB, with RBATF and OEA, Denies Johnson Telephone Auction 904 Waiver

6/25/2020
Order resolving Charter waiver petition re: eligible areas

1/30/2020
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Report and Order

8/2/2019
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Releases N

5/01/2023
FCC Proposes Over $8M in Fines Against 22 RDOF Applicants for Defaults

8/31/2022
FCC Announces Nearly $800 Million in RDOF Funding for Broadband

8/10/2022
FCC Rejects LTD Broadband, Starlink Bids for Broadband Subsidies

7/22/2022
FCC Proposes Fines of $4.3M Against 73 RDOF Applicants for Defaults

5/3/22
Ninth RDOF Ready to Authorize Public Notice Press Release

3/25/2022
FCC Announces $313 Million Through Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

3/10/2022
FCC Announces Over $640 Million for Rural Broadband in 26 States

1/28/2022
FCC Announces Over $1.2B for Rural Broadband in 32 States

12/16/2021
FCC Announces Over $1 Billion in Rural Broadband Support to 32 States

11/10/2021
FCC Announces Over $700 Million for Broadband in 26 States

10/20/2021
FCC Announces $554 Million for Broadband in 19 States

10/7/2021
FCC Makes Available Over $163 Million for Broadband in 21 States

7/26/2021
FCC Announces Over $311 Million for Broadband, Acts to Clean Up RDOF

12/7/2020
FCC Auction to Bring Broadband to Over 10 Million Rural Americans

10/29/2020
FCC Kicks Off Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction

10/13/2020
FCC Announces 386 Applicants Qualified to Bid in Broadband Auction

10/8/2020
FCC Announces List of Eligible Areas for RDOF Auction Bidding

6/9/2020
FCC Adopts Procedures for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction
Applications Will Be Accepted July 1 to July 15; Bidding Starts October 29

2/28/2020
FCC Proposes Bidding Procedures for This Year's $16 Billion Rural Broadband Auction

1/14/2020
FCC Estimates Six Million Rural Homes And Businesses Could Benefit From The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

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