RDOF Ditches Digital Divide
Steve Goodman has been practicing telecommunications law since 1983, when he began working at the Federal Communications Commission. He now represents a wide variety of clients, including telecommunications equipment manufacturers, satellite service providers and international carriers.
Washington is awash in acronyms — practically drowning. Now there is another recently added one that should be of interest to telephone service providers and electric utilities that operate in rural areas - RDOF, which stands for the Rural Development Opportunity Fund.
The RDOF is a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband deployment subsidy program that is a follow-on to the FCC's current broadband subsidy program, the Connect America Fund. For the RDOF, the FCC adopted its proposal to commit at least 20.4 billion dollars over the next ten years to support the roll out of broadband service in rural areas.
Through the RDOF, the FCC is seeking to end the digital divide that exists between urban and rural America. According to the FCC's latest broadband deployment report, while broadband service (defined as fixed broadband service at a minimum speed of 25/3 megabits per second) was available to 93.5 percent of the United States population as a whole, for urban areas that percentage was 98.3 percent, while for rural areas that percentage was 73.6 percent (and for tribal lands was 67.9 percent).