On Sept. 20, NRECA filed comments with the FCC in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on the rules and processes underlying the upcoming Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Reverse Auction.

The auction will distribute $20.4 billion over 10 years to support deployment of broadband networks to unserved and underserved communities. NRECA supported the FCC proposal to award grants in two phases and handle the bidding process similar to the 2018 Connect America Fund Phase II auction. The two-phase approach will allow the FCC to move forward quickly to auction unserved areas while improving data collection on partially unserved areas to be included in the second phase.

The comments recommended a few modifications to the performance and latency tier weighting to incentivize higher-speed networks and to improve efficiency of the bidding process. NRECA also recommended the FCC include a challenge process to ensure all relevant areas that lack access to 25/3 are included in the auction.