U.S. FCC plans broadband expansion to over 100,000 rural homes and businesses in 43 states

Over 106,000 rural homes and small businesses in 43 states will get access to improved broadband service due to recent FCC reforms to the Universal Service Fund.

“Today’s announcement means that many more rural Americans will have access to high-speed broadband service that will enable them to fully participate in the digital economy— entrepreneurship, telemedicine, precision agriculture, online education, and more,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. “This is yet another example of how the FCC is working hard to close the digital divide.”

Pursuant to new rules adopted by the Commission last December, a total of 186 companies participating in the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program have accepted $65.7 million in additional annual support over the next decade. In return, these carriers have committed to deploying 25/3 Mbps service to 106,365 homes and small businesses that would have otherwise only received slower 10/1 Mbps service.

The boost represents a 31.8% increase in the number of locations that will have faster service available through the A-CAM program. Carriers must deploy 25/3 Mbps service to 40% of locations by end of the 2022, and increase deployment by 10% annually until buildout is complete at the end of 2028.

The chart below details the impact of the additional funding by state:


Source: U.S. Federal Communications Commission

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats to those who will be getting access to high-speed broadband service! (Also, that one guy in the Berkshires has to be smiling today!)


  1. The percentages look impressive, until you look at the actual numbers. 106,345 households in the entire country is a drop in the bucket. What the table doesn’t tell you is what percentage of rural households currently have broadband and what will that be expanded to when this build out is complete As for Chairman Pai’s characterization of “working hard,” I’d say most of it is spent sitting at a desk or in meetings, probably not breaking a sweat.

    1. The numbers in the chart represents households, not people. The actual number of people is likely 2-3 million people.

      Expanding broadband service to rural areas is very expensive compared to dense urban areas, especially if you want to bury the cable. Plus, you need amplifiers to boost the signals over long distances and you have to use higher quality cables to maintain signal integrity over long distances.

      1. There are other options besides cable. There are a number of providers near where I live that broadcast wireless from a tower. Right now, that requires line of sight access, which is a problem in some areas (mine included). My only point was that 106,000 households, which is probably not more than 500,000 people, is not all that impressive, given how hard Chairman Pai suggested the FCC was working. If you start with 5% of a sample having access to some service, and you increase by 50%, you’re only up to 7.5%.

      2. It’s “106,000 rural homes and small businesses.”

        The U.S. government’s Small Business Administration (SBA) defines “small business” as having a maximum of 250 – 1500 employees, depending on the industry.

        1. So, in areas with “rural homes,” I’m guessing that “small business” averages out to not very many people.

          Also, this entire article ignores the context of the telecomm companies having utterly refused to meet prior obligations like this. They’ve regularly received HUGE tax breaks and incentives in exchange for a promise to roll out really good broadband to a lot of people. Then, years down the road, they don’t ever get around to doing it, and beg for forgiveness. Then, agencies run by bought-and-paid-for people like Ajit Pai let them off the hook, then brag about the brand-new “never gonna happen” deal they’ve cooked up.

          It’s a scam to transfer money from taxpayers into the hands of telecomm executives and shareholders, as always.

        2. The key word being Maximum. You don’t use the maximum multiplier for your projections unless you want to be called out for your grossly inaccurate methods. Such a Trumpian move….. and it only works for the lowest of low info voters.

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