The Federal Communications Commission on Monday authorized over $3.6 million in funding to be dispersed over the next decade to expand broadband to 811 homes and businesses in rural Arkansas.
The move is part of the fourth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction. Providers will begin receiving funding later this month.
Nationwide, the FCC authorized over $121 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 36,579 unserved rural homes and businesses in 16 states in Monday’s wave of funding.
“As we continue to authorize funds to expand broadband in rural America, I am excited to see the benefits for rural residents who live all across the country, from Tribal lands in Wyoming to mountain communities in Appalachia, from the Great Plains to the Pacific Northwest, and from the Texas Panhandle to northern Minnesota,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “In Arkansas, this round of funding is yet another step toward closing the digital divide, providing access to digital opportunity to over 800 more unserved rural homes and businesses.”
To date, the FCC has authorized a total of $51.5 million in Arkansas to expand broadband to 15,936 rural homes and businesses.
Providers must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years. Buildout must increase by 20% in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.
The Connect America Fund Phase II auction last year allocated $1.488 billion nationwide in support to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses over the next 10 years. It is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America. On Aug. 1, the FCC proposed taking its biggest single step to date toward closing the rural digital divide by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas.
More information on the auction is available at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/903. A map of winning bids is available at https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/caf2-auction903-results/.