Nearly 13,000 homes and businesses in Southeast Arkansas are among millions nationwide expected to gain access to high-speed broadband through the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
The FCC recently awarded five companies more than $33.8 million to expand high-speed broadband access to nearly 13,000 unserved homes and businesses in Southeast Arkansas over the next decade.
Of the five companies that made successful bids in Southeast Arkansas, NexTier Consortium secured the most funding — about $15.2 million — to serve more than 5,675 homes and businesses in Southeast Arkansas.
Resound Networks, LLC was awarded about $7.9 million to serve 3,552; Windstream Holdings, Inc. was awarded more than $6.4 million to serve 1,740; Segnem Egre Consortium was awarded more than $3.9 million to serve 1,636; and Space Exploration Technologies was awarded $283,606 to serve 304 homes and businesses in Southeast Arkansas.
The providers promised to deliver at least 100 megabits per second upload speed and 20 megabits per second download speed with an overwhelming majority of the customers, 90 percent, getting “gigabit” speed, according to the FCC.
The providers have 10 years to build the networks but are are incentivized to build out to all locations as fast as possible.
Statewide, internet service providers were awarded more than $424 million to expand rural broadband networks serving an estimated 388,000 rural residents in Arkansas.
The FCC set aside $16 billion for Phase I of the auction, of which $9.2 billion was allocated. The remaining $6.8 billion will roll over into the future Phase II auction, which can now have a budget of $11.2 billion to target those areas that did not receive funding in the first phase as well as partially served areas.
“We aimed for maximum leverage of taxpayer dollars and for networks that would meet consumers’ increasing broadband needs, and the results show that our strategy worked,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in the news release. “This auction was the single largest step ever taken to bridge the digital divide and is another key success for the Commission in its ongoing commitment to universal service.”
The following are the full results of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction for Southeast Arkansas counties. The list includes the county, total number of locations (homes and businesses), and total support over the next decade, followed by the winning bidders, the number of locations that provider will serve, and winning bid amount.
More information on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction, including complete auction results and a map of winning bids, is available HERE.