Nearly 14,000 rural homes and businesses in Ohio that are currently unserved by high-speed Internet service could get connectivity in the near future.
These homes and businesses are in unserved areas of Ohio eligible for financial support from the next phase of FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF), which helps offset the high cost of extending broadband service into rural areas. The FCC will be distributing these funds through an innovative “reverse auction,” which is scheduled to launch on July 24.
“Connecting the unconnected in rural America is my top priority,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “I’m excited that our CAF auction will provide opportunities for innovative companies and cooperatives to bridge the digital divide for the Ohio consumers and small businesses that lack highspeed access today.”
Nationwide, providers will compete for up to $2 billion in support to expand access to broadband to nearly 1 million homes and locations in unserved rural areas over the next decade. The auction will provide opportunities for new entrants to the marketplace, regardless of technology, including phone companies, fixed wireless service providers, satellite providers, cable companies and electric utility broadband providers.
By harnessing market forces, the auction is designed to provide consumers with high-quality, broadband service in an efficient, cost-effective way. The application period for providers seeking to participate in the auction runs from March 19 – March 30.
Broadband access is essential in the 21st Century for jobs, education, information and economic development. Since 2011, the FCC has targeted more than $9 billion in support for rural broadband expansion to over 4 million homes and small businesses through its Connect America Fund.