Rural Broadband Auctions
Bridging the digital divide—particularly in rural areas where broadband is insufficiently deployed—is the Commission’s top priority.
The FCC has committed to using auctions to efficiently distribute Universal Service Fund (USF) support for fixed and mobile broadband networks in unserved parts of America.
The Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force implements, coordinates, and oversees the Commission’s use of reverse auctions to distribute Universal Service Fund support to bring broadband to unserved areas.
In 2018, the Commission conducted the first of these auctions. Auction 903—in which bidding began on July 24, 2018, and concluded on August 21, 2018—allocated Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II support to certain eligible areas across the United States. 103 bidders won $1.49 billion over 10 years to provide fixed broadband and voice services to over 700,000 locations in 45 states.
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction (Auction 904) awarded $9.2 billion over 10 years to service providers that committed to offer voice and broadband services to 5.2 million locations in unserved high-cost areas. Bidding began on October 29, 2020, and concluded on November 25, 2020.
The 5G Fund for Rural America represents the next step in the Commission's efforts to bridge the digital divide. On October 27, 2020, the Commission adopted a Report and Order establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America, which will make up to $9 billion available to bring 5G mobile broadband service to rural areas that would be unlikely to otherwise see deployment of 5G broadband service based upon new mobile coverage data submitted in the Commission's Broadband Data Collection.
Please email questions to members of the Commission's Rural Broadband Auctions Task Force at email@example.com.