Connecting rural areas to the grid

The FCC recently announced that it is setting aside more than $2 billion to help with broadband expansion, with the caveat that applicants offer their service at a predetermined speed and without data caps. The money will be distributed over a period of ten years, in equal annual amounts, through a reverse auction at which participants must promise to meet the aforementioned standards at prices “reasonably comparable to similar offerings in urban areas.”

There are four tiers of service ISPs participating in the program must adhere to:

  • Minimum: 10 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, with at least 150 GB of monthly usage
  • Baseline: 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up, with at least 150 GB of monthly usage
  • Above Baseline: 100 Mbps down and 25 Mbps up, with unlimited monthly usage
  • Gigabit: 1 Gbps down and 500 Mbps up, with unlimited monthly usage

Companies who promise faster, uncapped speeds will have an unspecified advantage during the auctions.

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