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Moody, Kingsbury counties to benefit from FCC funding - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Moody, Kingsbury counties to benefit from FCC funding

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Posted: Monday, August 19, 2019 3:31 pm

Residents in Moody, Kingsbury and Minnehaha counties who are considered "unserved" in the area of rural broadband service will benefit from $39 million that the Federal Communications Commission directed toward Midcontinent Communications last week.

FCC officials assigned $39 million in funding to Midcontinent so the communications company can provide broadband service to 9,371 unserved homes and businesses in rural South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota. Midcontinent will receive the FCC-assigned money in late August.

Other South Dakota counties that will receive broadband improvements are Beadle, Clark, Codington, Davison, Grant, Hamlin, Hand and Hanson.

Midcontinent is supposed to provide its unserved customers with internet connections that are 100 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream (rate of data received by the customer) and 20 Mbps upstream (rate of data sent by the customer).

On Aug. 12, FCC officials authorized more than $121 million in funding during the next decade to expand broadband to 36,579 unserved rural homes and businesses in 16 states. The money was provided by a 2018 auction called the Connect America Fund Phase II. This month's funding is the fourth chapter in a series of funding announcements.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the funding is dedicated to expand broadband service to communities in rural states.

"This round of funding is yet another step toward closing the digital divide, providing access to digital opportunity to over 36,000 more unserved rural homes and businesses," Pai said.

The Connect America Fund Phase II auction held last year collected $1.49 billion to expand broadband to more than 700,000 unserved rural homes and small businesses during the next 10 years. The FCC authorized previous three waves of funding during May, June and July.

The August funding allocation brings the total of authorized funding to more than $924 million. The money should expand connectivity to about 342,100 homes and businesses.

FCC officials plan to authorize additional rounds of funding in the coming months.

On Aug. 1, the FCC established the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, which would direct up to $20.4 billion to expand broadband in unserved rural areas.

Providers that have won an area within a state must build connections to 40% of the assigned homes and businesses within three years. The buildouts must increase by 20% during each subsequent year, until a completed buildout is accomplished at the end of the sixth year.

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