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Neal Celebrates FCC Funding to Expand Rural Broadband in Western Massachusetts

February 13, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Communications Commission today authorized more than $10 million in funding over ten years to expand rural broadband in Massachusetts.  These investments will connect over 4,600 unserved rural homes and businesses in Massachusetts. 

“Today’s announcement is another important step in our efforts to close the digital divide and connect rural residents of Massachusetts with the economic, healthcare, and educational opportunities made possible by high-speed broadband,” said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.  “In my travels around the country, I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand how funding provided through the FCC’s Connect America Fund Phase II auction is having a positive impact on rural communities.  And the funding we are approving today will build on that success as we connect more rural Americans with digital opportunity.”

“This is great news for these communities across Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden County, who have previously not been able to access broadband connectivity,” said United States Congressman Richard E. Neal. “Having access to affordable broadband would be a huge driver of economic development in these rural towns. In addition, it would allow schools and students to access more information and ensure first responders receive emergency calls and respond in a timely manner. This is a great win for our district.” 

Below is a complete list by county of the companies receiving support, the number of homes and businesses served (locations), the amount of support over 10 years, and the minimum download/upload speeds to be provided:

 

In total, the Connect America Fund Auction in 2018 allocated $1.488 billion in support over the next ten years to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses in 45 states.  The FCC has now authorized nine waves of funding, and today’s action brings total authorized funding to $12.1 million in Massachusetts and over $1.4 billion nationwide, which is expanding connectivity to 5,742 homes and businesses in Massachusetts and 627,097 nationwide.  Funding rounds will continue until the authorization process is complete.

The Connect America Fund Phase II Auction is part of a broader effort by the FCC to close the digital divide in rural America.  In  January, the FCC took its biggest single step to date toward closing the rural digital divide by establishing the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which will direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas.

A map of winning bids in the Auction is available here.

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