The $11.2 million awarded is intended to fund projects in five states over 10 years. In addition to providing service, the projects are intended to explore cost-effective ways of expanding broadband service in rural areas. The Rural Broadband Experiments program was adopted in 2014 to test on a limited scale the use of competitive bidding to award funding from the Connect America Fund.
The authorized projects, which must be 85% built out in three years and 100% in five years, include the following:
- Skybeam will receive $4.48 million to extend fixed wireless service to 6,647 homes and businesses at 25 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream, over a network capable of delivering service at 100 Mbps downstream and 25 Mbps upstream. Locations to be served include portions of Illinois, Kansas and Texas.
- Allamakee-Clayton Electric Cooperative will receive $1.5 million to extend service at speeds of 10/1 to 665 homes and small businesses in Fayette County, IA, over a hybrid fiber/fixed wireless network.
- Consolidated Communications Networks will receive $3 million to extend broadband service over a fiber network to 171 homes and businesses in portions of Stark County, ND.
- Delta Communications will receive $2.2 million to extend broadband service to 122 homes and businesses over fiber networks in portions of Illinois.