Broadband Federal Funding

Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to award up to $20.4 billion to support broadband services for eligible areas across the nation. The FCC will award funding in two phases using a reverse auction process. Phase I is currently underway with a $16 billion budget, and the Phase I Auction 904 will begin on October 29, 2020. Additional information on Auction 904 is provided below. 

The CPUC encourages all eligible carriers to apply for federal funding to help close the digital divide in California. See the California RDOF Eligibility Map for eligible census blocks in California based on the FCC's October 8, 2020 final eligible areas. 

Specific Support Amounts for CPUC’s RDOF Post-Auction Funds Leveraging

To support winning RDOF Phase I (AU 904) bidders CPUC staff is proposing a total maximum of $150 million be made available, from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF), to leverage federal funds awarded for California areas (CPUC modeling suggests requests for no more than $88 million of the $150 million max). These funds are proposed for CPUC awards following the close of AU 904 by FCC, and the announcement of winning bidders. Staff proposes this state ‘Kicker Program’ funding be available for winning bids in 279 identified Census Block Groups (CBGs). These areas contain 95,232 RDOF eligible locations, with a total 10-year Reserve Price of $602,809,420. The listed amounts are for “Level 1” support in the staff proposal. Commission consideration of a proposal will be to award “Level 2” support according to criteria in the proposal so long as funds remain.

The CBGs are illustrated on the CPUC Kicker Program Map, a downloadable single sheet in PDF format. The 279 CBGs are available in the CPUC Kicker Program Data Package, which consists of a statewide data file listing the census code for each CBG, and a summary sheet showing Kicker Eligible Locations counts and RDOF Reserve Prices by county.

These CBGs were selected for Kicker funding from among the final 370,986 RDOF Eligible Locations for California, as issued by the FCC on October 8, 202, given that each census area has at least 1 of 3 CPUC-selected criteria: 1. Low linear density of RDOF locations passed by roadway mileage. 2. Low income population. 3. Tribal lands. The intent of Kicker funding for these selected areas is to support RDOF Phase I (AU 904) winning bidders with state funds to allow the development of broadband networks in these financially challenging areas of California.

Important Dates and New Information

  • October 05, 2020 - FCC Release of RDOF Bidding Educational Materials- FCC released a System User Guide, Bidding Tutorial video & Bidding System File Formats for the support of bidders, via a Public Notice and the RDOF: Auction 904 Education site.
       
  • October 08, 2020 - RDOF Phase I (AU 904) Final Eligible Locations Release- FCC released its final listing of RDOF Eligible Locations, updating its data release of 06/25/2020. CPUC has posted the new data to the California RDOF Eligibility Map.
      
  • October 13, 2020, - RDOF Auction 904 Qualified Bidders - FCC released the final list of Qualified Bidders certified to bid in the Phase I auction. Listings of qualified bidders and applicants not certified to bid were issued as attachments to a Public Notice
      
  •  October 15, 2020, (CPUC Estimate) RDOF Phase I final Applicant Status Release-  CPUC staff estimates FCC will release the final list of applicants certified to bid in Phase I by this date. This release will update the initial Application Status release of 09/01/2020.
      
  • October 29, 2020 - RDOF Phase I (AU 904) Opens- Only Certified Short Form Applicants may enter the FCC’s reverse auction.
      
  • December 15, 2020 - (CPUC Estimate) RDOF Phase I (AU 904) closes- CPUC staff estimates the RDOF Phase I reverse auction will close by this date.

FCC Presentation on Auction 904 (Hosted by CPUC)

The CPUC hosted an FCC presentation on RDOF Phase I Auction 904 with a question and answer session on June 10, 2020. The presentation covered how Internet service providers can apply for funding through Auction 904. Click to watch the presentation and access the presentation slides

RDOF Phase I Auction 904 

Check out the FCC's Fact Sheet that breaks down RDOF Phase I. 

Additional information and resources: 

Maps and Data on Eligible Areas

California RDOF Eligibility Map:  This resource provides reserve price and build out cost estimates for all RDOF-eligible locations in the State. Reserve price information is available without login, and build-out cost information is available with login. The FCC released the final RDOF eligibility areas on October 8, 2020. The CPUC is working quickly to update all of the information on this map. A summary of the final eligibility for California can be found in the map. Please check back on October 15, 2020 for the full update. Click here for instructions on how to create a login.

FCC Final Eligible Areas Map and Data:  The FCC updated its Auction 904 eligible areas map on October 8, 2020 and provides the census blocks, associated census block groups, and reserve prices.

FCC Updated Eligible Areas Map and Data:  The FCC updated its Auction 904 eligible areas map on June 25, 2020 and provides the census blocks, associated census block groups, and reserve prices. The FCC will publish the final list of eligible areas at least 14 days prior to the auction. 

Connected California StoryMap:  Explains the unprecedented opportunity RDOF presents for California's unserved areas. See the FCC Presentation on Auction 904 (Hosted by the CPUC) above.  

Anti-Collusion Requirements

The FCC prohibits certain communications by auction applicants: 

146. To help protect competition in the auction, the Commission’s rules prohibit an applicant from communicating certain auction-related information to another applicant from the auction short-form application filing deadline until the post-auction deadline for winning bidders to file long-form applications for support. More specifically, section 1.21002 of the Commission’s rules prohibits an applicant in Auction 904 from cooperating or collaborating with any other applicant with respect to its own, or one another’s, or any other competing applicant’s bids or bidding strategies, and from communicating with any other applicant in any manner the substance of its own, or one another’s, or any other competing applicant’s bids or bidding strategies during the prohibition period. The rule’s exception for communications between applicants that are members of a joint bidding arrangement shall not apply in Auction 904.

See Auction 904 Procedures and Requirements, Section G "Prohibited Communications and Compliance with Antitrust Laws" for all FCC rules. 

Questions? 

The CPUC can help with questions on RDOF and broadband related concerns. The FCC also has an e-mail for Auction 904 questions.

CPUC E-mail:  broadbandfederalfunding@cpuc.ca.gov

FCC E-mail:  auction904@fcc.gov

 


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