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All Americans will get broadband access

Staff writer |
Up to 600,000 homes and small businesses will get broadband access as a result of additional support from the FCC's Connect America Fund.

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Providers in 44 states and Puerto Rico requested over $385 million from the Fund which will be matched with hundreds of millions of their own dollars in many areas to quickly expand broadband infrastructure to rural communities in every region of the nation. Deployment must be completed within three years.

Currently, about 15 million U.S. residents, mostly rural, lack access to broadband and the opportunities it provides. This second round of funding from Phase I of the Connect America Fund marks the continuation of the most significant public-private effort in history to ensure that every American home and business has access to broadband by the end of the decade, which will spur economic growth and boost the nation's global competitiveness.

"Broadband is no longer a luxury but is essential in today's society to finding a job, getting an education, receiving quality health care, and staying connected with family and community," said Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn.

Phase I of the Connect America Fund is designed to quickly expand broadband to unserved areas while broader structural reforms are being implemented. In 2012, providers accepted nearly $115 million in Phase I funding to expand rural broadband in 37 states. In May of this year, the FCC allocated $300 million for the current round of Phase I, with additional funding to be made available if demand exceeded that amount.

With total requests exceeding $385 million, this second round builds on lessons learned from the first, and includes changes to incentivize private investment, improve program clarity, and maximize deployment where consumers lack broadband.

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