MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - The Federal Communications Commission announced that Mississippi could see high-speed broadband support for more than 200,000 rural homes and businesses under a new proposal.
The announcement comes from an initial estimate done by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to determine how many homes and businesses in each state could benefit from Phase I of the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund proposal that will be voted on by the commission on Jan. 30.
“The digital divide affects many people in many rural communities,” said Pai. “I’ve said that the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund would be our boldest step yet to bridge this divide, and today we get a glimpse of the broad impact this investment in rural America would have across the country.”
Six million rural homes and businesses could be eligible for bidding in a reverse-auction later this year to receive funding for high-speed broadband, with Mississippi having an estimated 231,000 bid-eligible locations.
The Fund would target areas that lack access to 25/3 Megabytes pers second (Mbps) broadband services in two stages.
Phase I will target $16 billion to areas that are totally unserved by broadband, and Phase II will target unserved households in areas that are partially served by broadband by using the FCC’s new granular broadband mapping approached called the Digital Opportunity Data Collection.
Phase II would also include areas that did not receive winning bids in Phase I.
“The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is critical to bridging the digital divide,” said Pai. “I hope that my colleagues will join me in voting for it on Jan. 30.”