December 7, 2020
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said that it was awarding $9.2 billion to provide high-speed broadband internet service to 5.22 million unserved homes and businesses.
Charter Communications Inc won $1.22 billion to provide service to 1.06 million locations, while Elon Musk’s SpaceX won $885 million to serve 642,000 locations.
The Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium won $1.1 billion to serve 618,000 locations and LTD Broadband LLC won $1.32 billion to serve 528,000 locations.
The FCC estimates the funding will expand broadband to more than 10 million rural Americans.
Nearly all the locations will receive broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbpswith an overwhelming majority (over 85%)
getting gigabit-speed broadband. The funds will be distributed over the next 10 years.
The FCC said $6.8 billion in funding that was not awarded will be rolled over into a future auction that can use up to $11.2 billion to target partially served areas and remaining unserved areas.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the auction was “technologically neutral” and structured to “prioritize bids for high-speed, low-latency offerings.”
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Nick Macfie)