Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Offers a Chance to Reach Millions of Unserved Rural Consumers

For Immediate Release
Contact:  Carolyn Just, 703-351-2015, 

Arlington, Va., (January 30, 2020)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association issued the following statement from Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield regarding the FCC vote to formally establish the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund.

“For too long, NTCA members have heard the calls from consumers in neighboring rural areas desperate for broadband, and they have tried to respond wherever they can while also continuing to invest and deliver high-quality services in their own deeply rural communities. Today’s vote to establish the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund offers great promise in helping to answer those kinds of calls and deliver the best possible voice and broadband services in unserved areas. NTCA members are eager to participate in this effort, we thank Chairman Pai for moving this initiative forward, and we look forward to engaging with the FCC as it finalizes the auction procedures, vets qualified bidders, and conducts the auction.  
“At the same time, even in the course of conducting auctions to distribute funds in unserved areas, it is important not to lose sight of those areas that are well-served today only by the grace of universal service support. These are market failure areas, where reasonably comparable consumer rates will not cover the costs of repaying loans taken out to build networks and the costs of maintaining networks once built.  NTCA therefore welcomes a renewed conversation now not only on how we get broadband where it is not, but also how we keep broadband where it already is – sustaining high-quality voice and broadband services at affordable rates for the long-term benefit of rural consumers and communities.”