The FCC and the Senate are taking specific steps to bring more broadband access into underserved rural areas. The FCC is moving forward on plans for something called a “reverse auction” next year, which would provide nearly $2 billion over the next ten years to expand high-speed access in rural areas that don’t have a fixed broadband service.
The commission is looking for comments from interested parties as to how they should run the auction, including how interested parties can participate in the auction, how potential bidders would submit bids, and how the FCC will process those bids to determine both the winners and the support amounts. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he expects the auction to attract providers that haven’t ever received universal funding.
“I’m thinking about small competitive providers and electrical cooperatives that want to bring fiber to neighbors currently on the wrong side of the broadband divide,” Pai said. The auction idea has been in development since first being proposed in 2011.
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