CHARLESTON, W.Va. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today applauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announcement that rural communities throughout West Virginia will gain access to high-speed internet service through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. The auction results released today show that nine providers were successful and won funding totaling $362,066,660 to deploy high-speed broadband to unserved businesses and homes in West Virginia. A total of 180 bidders across the nation won auction support, which will be distributed over the next 10 years.
“I hope naysayers will take notice that not only are smaller West Virginia providers eligible and competing in these federal auctions, but they are also winning,” Senator Capito said. “While this is just a step in the process and this is not yet the end, this news demonstrates another step forward in our goal to better connect West Virginia at a time when connectivity is more important than ever. As the FCC moves forward with the next steps in the RDOF program, I will be working diligently to ensure that companies that bid in West Virginia have the capacity to carry out their promises of providing gigabit level service to West Virginia residents. The FCC has been a tremendous partner in supporting my Capito Connect initiative, and programs like RDOF that specifically focus on rural America are critical in our fight to establish affordable, reliable broadband in West Virginia.”
Senator Capito has worked extensively with the FCC and championed the RDOF program. This past fall, Senator Capito hosted a rural broadband summit with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. The summit centered around the status of the RDOF auction and the progress of applicants moving toward the completed application state. Following this update, Senator Capito held a series of discussions with leaders from various broadband provider companies petitioning to bid in the upcoming RDOF reverse auction administered by the FCC. During these provider discussions, Senator Capito received feedback on the status of their applications.
BACKGROUND ON RDOF:
The RDOF is one of the most ambitious steps the FCC has taken towards bridging the digital divide, which will provide $20.4 billion over the next 10 years for high speed fixed broadband service to rural homes and small businesses. The largest portion of these funds—$16 billion—will be made available for Phase I of RDOF. Phase II will make available the remaining $4.4 billion that will also be deployed through a reverse auction at a date yet to be determined.
Senator Capito spoke on the Senate floor about the importance of RDOF and rural broadband in September. Click here to watch the speech.
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