FCC authorises nearly $800M from RDOF to Nextlink, Starry and others

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The FCC has announced the approval of nearly $800 million from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) that will go to providers including Nextlink and Starry.

Fixed wireless access (FWA) providers are the main beneficiaries of the RDOF fund as the FCC bets on their ability to achieve rural broadband availability targets.

“We are excited to partner with the FCC to deploy gigabit connectivity to households across rural America,” said Nextlink CEO Bill Baker in a statement.

“As a rural-based, rural-focused company, we look forward to partnering with the new communities we will be serving under RDOF to ensure you can have world-class internet no matter where you live or work.”

Nextlink Chief Strategy Officer Claude Aiken added: “Chairwoman Rosenworcel has had to make some tough calls on this program, and we appreciate the authorisation of Nextlink. This is a win for consumers nationwide and will get these rural households and businesses connected years in advance of network buildouts under the BEAD program.”

Nextlink was awarded $429,152,518 from the RDOF fund. The company says it will use the funds to expand beyond its existing seven-state footprint into Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, and Louisiana. Nextlink says it will also deepen its presence in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, and South Dakota.

5G fixed wireless provider Starry was another major winner of RDOF cash and will receive around $269 million.

“Having high-speed, reliable home broadband access has never been more important and programs like RDOF are critical to ensuring that every community in the US has access to this essential service,” said Chet Kanojia, Starry co-founder and CEO.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to serve more Americans with the essential broadband they need. We thank Chairwoman Rosenworcel and the staff at the FCC for their thorough review of our application and look forward to beginning our deployments and bringing #HappyInterneting to more communities across the country.”

Other winning RDOF bidders that have now received approvals include GigaBeam Networks, Anthem Broadband, and GeoLinks.

“This funding will connect more households throughout the country with high-speed broadband as part of our ongoing work to close the digital divide,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel.

“We are confident these projects can bring quality service to currently unserved areas.” 

(Photo by Franck on Unsplash)

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