The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has authorized 368 companies to receive a total of $18 billion in Federal funding to expand rural broadband access.
In a Public Notice, the FCC authorized roughly $18.28 billion in Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Enhanced A-CAM) support for carriers that have accepted the offer of Enhanced A-CAM support in the states identified in the FCC’s Authorization Report for a 15-year period beginning January 1, 2024.
The FCC said that the companies have committed to deploying broadband service of at least 100/20 Mbps service to more than 700,000 locations and to maintain or improve existing 100/20 Mbps service to approximately 2 million locations in 44 states across the country.
Earlier this summer, the FCC adopted an order to establish the Enhanced A-CAM program. The program provides universal service high-cost support to participating carriers to serve consumers with 100/20 Mbps or faster broadband service to all locations served by the program, including some of the most difficult-to-reach areas of the country.
The FCC said that this program will provide additional universal service support to certain rural carriers in exchange for increasing deployment to more locations at higher speeds.
The commission also noted that the program aligns deployment milestones with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, requiring participating carriers to deploy to all locations within four years. The program also allows carriers that elect to participate in the Enhanced A-CAM program the opportunity to establish an enforceable commitment to locations they serve.
As part of its Authorization Report, the FCC released an initial list of required deployment locations. The FCC did note that determination of Enhanced A-CAM carrier required deployment locations is subject to an adjustment process that will be completed by Dec. 31, 2025.