The Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced $9.2 billion in funding for rural broadband expansion projects, with about $346.3 million going toward projects in Missouri.
Funds from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction will be awarded to 180 companies over 10 years. The fund will direct a total of $20.4 billion toward the deployment of rural, high-speed broadband networks.
As the pandemic forces work and school to go remote for many, it has shed light on the digital divide and how a lack of broadband access affects rural Americans. A significant amount of CARES Act funds have been put toward broadband expansion projects, including $20 million from Missouri to the Emergency Broadband Investment Initiative. Other funding from the federal government in recent years, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Program, has increased the priority of bringing reliable internet access to rural areas.
Of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund’s winning bids, 17 are for expansion projects in Missouri:
- Aptitude Internet – $24,655,295
- Barry Technology Services – $14,502
- CCO Holdings – $48,392,327
- CenturyLink – $275,208
- Chariton Valley Communications – $8,070,272
- LTD Broadband – $158,793,688
- Mercury Wireless – $4,254,918.50
- NexTier Consortium – $2,108,576
- Northeast Missouri Rural Telephone Co. – $60,126
- NRTC Phase I RDOF Consortium – $1,682,687
- Rural American Broadband Consortium – $4,525,266
- Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium – $88,238,706
- Socket Telecom – $232,768.80
- Windstream Services debtor-in-possession – $3,078,402
- Wisper-CABO 904 Consortium – $1,159,205
- Worldwide Technologies, Inc., earning $700,874
- Vondoo Broadband – $54,833
“I’m thrilled with the incredible success of this auction, which brings welcome news to millions of unconnected rural Americans who for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide,” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release. “They now stand to gain access to high-speed, high-quality broadband service.”