$21.7M RDOF Penalty Proposed for LTD Broadband, $700K for Etheric

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The FCC has issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture proposing over $22.4 million in forfeitures against Etheric Communications, LLC (Etheric) and LTD Broadband LLC (LTD, since rebranded as GigFire) for their respective Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) defaults following Auction 904. Regarding Etheric, the FCC has proposed a forfeiture of $732,000 after the Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) found that the company defaulted on its bids for 244 census block groups and denied Etheric’s petition for reconsideration and waiver relief. As for LTD, the FCC has proposed $21,714,000 (on top of prior RDOF-related forfeitures of $100,000 and $2,304,000 proposed in 2022) after the Bureau found that the company defaulted on its bids for 7,238 census block groups. The FCC just recently denied LTD’s Application for Review seeking to overturn the Bureau’s default decision. Moreover, the FCC proposes to hold GigFire LLC (GigFire) jointly and severally liable for LTD’s forfeiture, finding that the two companies are “alter egos for purposes of liability” and noting the possibility that “GigFire may have been founded for the purpose of evading liability for LTD’s actions.”

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