As part of its efforts to make broadband more available in rural areas, the Federal Communications Commission announced that the Connect America Fund Phase II "reverse auction" will bring broadband service to more than 700,000 homes and businesses for the first time. More than half of those will have download speeds of 100Mbps or more, with 19 percent gaining access to gigabit downloads. All but a couple thousand locations will have access to download speeds of at least 25Mbps.
More than 100 winning bidders will build out infrastructure in 45 states over the next decade to connect the 713,176 homes and businesses, with the FCC providing a hair under $1.5 billion in funding following the auction (there was an initial reserve price of $5 billion). The bidding process gave weighted preference to providers that offered faster speeds, lower latency and higher data allowances, and the providers can use whichever technology they like to build out the required infrastructure as long as it meets the FCC's standards. Meanwhile, the FCC is set to launch a $4.5 billion Mobility Fund Phase II auction with the aim of expanding 4G LTE coverage in rural areas.