Source: Knox News Sentinel Biz Ticker | October 10, 2019

The Federal Communications Commission today authorized more than $5.5 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to more than 2,000 unserved homes and businesses in Tennessee, part of the sixth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect American Fund Phase II auction.  The provider, Sunset Digital Communications, will begin receiving funding later this month.

Nationwide, the FCC authorized over $61.8 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to nearly 22,000 unserved rural homes and businesses in 14 states, representing the sixth wave of support from last year’s successful Connect America Fund Phase II auction.

“From the borders of the Cumberland Gap in Claiborne County to the parks surrounding Union County, the FCC is helping bring broadband to rural Tennessee,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “It’s critical that rural Tennesseans have the same access to digital opportunity that their urban counterparts do.  I’m pleased that today’s funding will support broadband to more than 2,000 unserved rural homes and businesses in the state.”

Statewide in Tennessee, the FCC has authorized a total of nearly $8.5 million to date to expand broadband to 3,290 rural homes and businesses.  The following counties where providers will be receiving support in today’s funding wave are Claiborne, Hancock, Hawkins, and Union.

Providers must build out to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years.  Buildout must increase by 20% in each subsequent year until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

The Connect America Fund Phase II auction last year allocated $1.488 billion nationwide in support to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses over the next 10 years. It is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America.  On August 1, the FCC proposed taking its biggest single step to date toward closing the rural digital divide by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas.

More information on the auction is available at https://www.fcc.gov/auction/903.  A map of winning bids is available at https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/caf2-auction903-results/.