The Federal Communications Commission announced Monday that an estimated 332,000 rural Americans living and working in Louisiana, including Concordia Parish, will gain access to high-speed broadband through the Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction, according to auction results released on Dec. 7.
In Louisiana, the auction allocated $342,207,315.20 in support to expand broadband to 175,692 unserved homes and businesses over the next 10 years. Nearly all locations in Louisiana that were eligible for the auction will be receiving access to broadband with speeds of at least 100/20 Mbps, with an overwhelming majority (82%) getting gigabit-speed broadband.
“Louisianians without broadband access deserve the same educational and work opportunities that Americans who have high-speed internet already enjoy,” said U.S. Sen. John Kennedy. “The pandemic has made it more urgent than ever to bridge the digital divide in underserved rural areas—telehealth, telework, and online classes demand broadband expansion. I’m glad to see the FCC invest $342 million to expand broadband access to 175,000 Louisiana families and businesses. It’s past time to build out this infrastructure.”
Kennedy is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government, which has jurisdiction over the FCC.
Winning bidders for Concordia, Catahoula and Tensas parishes, the number of homes and businesses to be served and total support for 10 years follow.
Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, 2,255 homes and businesses to be served, $3,234,805.
Segnem Egere Consortium, 438 homes and businesses to be served, $389,397.
Space Exploration Technologies Corp., 241 homes and businesses to be served, $55,335.
Concordia total: $3,688,536.
Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, 2,684 homes and businesses to be served, $4,687,193.
Segnem Egere Consortium, 627 homes and businesses to be served, $1,922,200.
Catahoula total: $6,609,393.
Rural Electric Cooperative Consortium, 2,053 homes and businesses to be served, $4,703,205.
Segnem Egere Consortium, 165 homes and businesses to be served, $546,210.
Tensas total: $5,249,415.
The auction unleashed robust competition that resulted in more locations being awarded at less cost to Americans who pay into the FCC’s Universal Service Fund.
“This historic auction is great news for the residents of so many rural Louisiana communities, who will get access to high-quality broadband service in areas that for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “We structured this innovative and groundbreaking auction to prioritize bids for high-speed, low-latency services to deliver the best results for rural Americans, and the results show that this strategy worked. This auction was the Commission’s single largest step ever taken toward delivering digital opportunity to every American and is another key success in our ongoing commitment to universal service.”
The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America.
In October 2020, the Commission adopted rules creating the 5G Fund for Rural America, which will distribute up to $9 billion over the next decade to bring 5G wireless broadband connectivity to rural America.
More information on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction is available at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/904.