Connect America Fund Expands Broadband to Up to 600K Homes, Businesses
Federal Communications Commission
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Washington, D. C. 20554
This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT:
August 21, 2013
Justin Cole, 202-418-8191
UP TO 600,000 RURAL HOMES AND BUSINESSES IN 44 STATES AND PUERTO RICO WILL
GAIN ACCESS TO BROADBAND FOR FIRST TIME
Over $385 Million From FCC's Connect America Fund To Leverage Private Investment For
Expanding Broadband In Unserved Areas
Washington, D.C.Up to 600,000 homes and small businesses that lack broadband will get access to
this basic necessity as a result of additional support from the FCC's Connect America Fund. Providers in
44 states and Puerto Rico requested over $385 million from the Fund which will be matched with
hundreds of millions of their own dollars in many areas to quickly expand broadband infrastructure to
rural communities in every region of the nation. Deployment must be completed within three years.
Currently, about 15 million U.S. residents, mostly rural, lack access to broadband and the opportunities it
provides. This second round of funding from Phase I of the Connect America Fund marks the
continuation of the most significant public-private effort in history to ensure that every American home
and business has access to broadband by the end of the decade, which will spur economic growth and
boost the nation's global competitiveness.
"Broadband is no longer a luxury but is essential in today's society to finding a job, getting an education,
receiving quality health care, and staying connected with family and community," said Acting FCC
Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn. "This second round of support from the Connect America Fund will
leverage private investment and connect hundreds of thousands of rural consumers and businesses to the
robust broadband that other communities have long taken for granted. I'm delighted that requests for
support in this round have exceeded our expectations, putting us that much closer to the day when all
Americans have access to broadband."
The FCC launched this unprecedented broadband expansion in 2011 when it reformed and modernized
the Universal Service Fund, which helped expand the telephone network to rural America in the 20th
century. The Commission created the Connect America Fund to unleash the benefits of 21st century
broadband communications in communities where there are insufficient market incentives to expand
broadband service absent a joint public-private effort. Key reforms allowed Connect America to expand
support to both broadband and voice without increasing universal service fees on consumers and
Phase I of the Connect America Fund is designed to quickly expand broadband to unserved areas while
broader structural reforms are being implemented. In 2012, providers accepted nearly $115 million in
Phase I funding to expand rural broadband in 37 states. In May of this year, the FCC allocated $300
million for the current round of Phase I, with additional funding to be made available if demand exceeded
that amount. With total requests exceeding $385 million, this second round builds on lessons learned
from the first, and includes changes to incentivize private investment, improve program clarity, and
maximize deployment where consumers lack broadband.
The attached table below provides an analysis by state and carrier of 2013 Connect America Fund Phase I
funding. The requests are subject to FCC review and possible challenges from other providers, which
could lead to lower levels of funding in some areas.
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