The Federal Communications Commission has authorized more than $112.2 million during the next decade to expand broadband to about 48,000 unserved rural homes and businesses. The grants, announced on Thursday, will go to 16 projects in nine states. This is the fifth round of funding from the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction and follows a similar $121 million bundle of grants last month. The selected broadband providers will begin receiving funding within the next few weeks.
The grants will go to projects in rural area of the nine states: five in Illinois, two each in California, Indiana, Ohio and Minnesota and one each in Iowa, New Mexico, Texas and Wisconsin.
FCC chair Ajit Pai called the funding "another step towards ensuring that all Americans have access to high-speed broadband.”
“This fifth round of funding will provide rural Americans from California to Ohio with the economic, educational, civic, and healthcare opportunities that Internet access makes possible," Pai said.
With this fifth round of funding, the FCC has allocated a total of more than $1 billion earmarked to deliver connectivity to nearly 388,000 homes and businesses nationwide. Additional rounds will be authorized in the coming months, the FCC said, with a goal of reaching 700,000 unserved residential and commercial locations in rural communities.
Providers must build out 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won within three years. Deployment must increase by 20% in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.
A map of the winning bids is here.