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News Release

Federal Communications Commission 

The Federal Communications Commission today authorized $521,000 in funding over ten years to expand broadband in Idaho’s Benewah County. With this tranche of Federal Communications Commission support, tribal provider Red Spectrum Communications has committed to providing broadband at speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps to an estimated 185 unserved rural homes and businesses, some of which are in tribal areas. This announcement brings the total Connect America Fund Phase II auction support for Idaho to $14,320,176 for 10,921 locations.

“When I visited Idaho’s Coeur D’Alene Reservation in 2018, I met with Valerie Fast Horse and the team at Red Spectrum Communications, and I saw the work they were doing to connect rural communities in Idaho,” said Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. “Today’s announcement caps off the Federal Communications Commission’s most recent investment in broadband for rural Idaho with a total of more than $14 million in support for connecting nearly 11,000 homes and businesses. Nothing is more important at the Federal Communications Commission than our work toward bridging the digital divide. Looking ahead, we are already putting together the next generation of funding tools to continue our commitment to connecting rural America.” 

Broadband providers in Idaho that receive funding through the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses within three years. Buildout must increase by 20% in each subsequent year, until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

In total, the 2018 Connect America Fund auction allocated $1.488 billion in support over the next ten years to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses in 45 states. The Federal Communications Commission has now authorized ten waves of funding with over $1.4 billion authorized thus far. Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete. A map of winning bids in the Auction is available at:

The Connect America Fund Phase II auction is part of a broader effort by the Federal Communications Commission to close the digital divide in rural America. In January, the Federal Communications Commission took its biggest single step to date toward closing the rural digital divide by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas. Chairman Pai has also proposed a $9 billion 5G Fund to support carriers in deploying advanced mobile wireless services in rural America with $1 billion dedicated to precision agriculture needs.

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