The FCC has authorized $521,000 in funding over 10 years to expand broadband in rural Idaho's Benewah County. 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. The 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 FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "Today's announcement caps off the FCC'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 FCC 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 FCC'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 has allocated $1.488 billion in support over the next 10 years to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses in 45 states. The FCC has now authorized 10 waves of funding with more than $1.4 billion authorized thus far. Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete.