The FCC needs to learn from RDOF and properly punish those companies that have “gamed” the system. Otherwise, Rural Americans will continue to suffer from poor Broadband and the taxpayers will continue to pay for programs that do not work.
It should NOT come as a shock to those who live in the underserved areas of the nation where high-speed internet is a pipe dream at best. Charter and many others are dropping their RDOF winnings after low-balling the areas. This was a simple way to ensure others did not bid, grow and be able to serve areas that might come close and/or impact the larger carriers. The Ten (10) largest RDOF winners won a combined 76% of the total funding awarded. We can applaud some of these who are Fixed Wireless who have promised (and plan to) provide 1gbps down to the home such as NextLink.
Sadly however, many underserved areas are finding they were gamed… The promise of their community obtaining High-Speed suddenly has disappeared as the RDOF winner is returning the winnings and refusing service after low-balling the bidding.
The impact to these areas is yet unknown – however many of these communities and the smaller Fixed Wireless Providers who want to help are finding they are ineligible for State or Federal programs and worse.
Those who won the bid, those who gamed the system realize virtually no impact or penalty as they gobbled up specific territories as part of the auction and now are able to pick and choose what areas within the auction they wish to service.
Sadly RDOF is yet another example of how Rural Americans will continue to suffer with poor Broadband even at the expense of the American Tax Payer of which is forced to continue to pay for programs that simply are not working.