RDOF Order Rejects Pleas Not to Exclude State-Funded Areas

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The FCC has denied a series of petitions to reconsider Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) area eligibility rules that would allow more state broadband funded areas to remain eligible for RDOF support. To prevent RDOF funding in overbuilt areas, census blocks receiving state broadband grants for 25/3 Mbps or faster broadband were excluded from the RDOF Phase I eligible areas list only where either the state itself or a state-support recipient notified the FCC of such grants in the limited RDOF challenge process. Petitions were filed by the Illinois Office of Broadband, the Vermont Department of Public Service, and Heartland Telecommunications Company d/b/a Premier Communications seeking various rule changes and/or clarifications regarding RDOF eligbility. Though the FCC declined to change its RDOF rules to allow more areas to be eligible for RDOF Phase I, it also clarified that its RDOF Phase I eligibility determinations do not prejudge an area’s RDOF Phase II eligibility.

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