RDOF Auction Procedures Proposed

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The FCC voted 3-2 to propose bidding procedures for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction (Auction 904) for $16 billion in support for 25/3 Mbps broadband in unserved areas. The proposed Auction 904 start date is October 22, 2020. The proposed procedures are intended to be similar to the Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II auction, though the RDOF Phase I auction will reward bids at the fastest and lowest-latency levels once at the point where bids are low enough to fall within the RDOF budget. The Auction 904 public notice will seek comment on the bid processes, minimum geographic area (e.g., census block groups or tracts), application requirements, and financial eligibility, among other things. The two partially dissenting votes from Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Geoffrey Starks raised long-held objections to the underlying Form 477 data being relied upon by the FCC to determine RDOF Phase I area eligibility. Comment deadlines on the Auction 904 public notice will be announced with the item’s release, which has not yet occurred.

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