The ABC Act would provide the FCC with $6 billion to incentivize winning bidders in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) reverse auctions – Phase I, scheduled for this October, and, to the extent that there are funds left over, Phase II – to accelerate buildout.
Incentive payments would be proportional to the amount of RDOF support received and conditioned upon recipients meeting the following milestones:
- Begin construction within 180 days;
- Initiate service within one year; and
- Satisfy all buildout obligations within three years.
The following day, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tweeted his support:
I applaud @SenateCommerce Chairman @SenatorWicker, @SenCapito, & Sen. @MarshaBlackburn for introducing the Accelerating Broadband Connectivity Act. It would provide new funds for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction winners to deploy broadband faster. Big win for rural America! pic.twitter.com/z8ZCS9hgAV— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) June 23, 2020
It is encouraging to see policymakers recognize the urgent need to expand broadband coverage to areas currently unserved.