By Carri Bennet and Erin P. Fitzgerald, Rural Wireless Association Regulatory Counsel

On January 9, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) has released a fact sheet and draft Connect America Fund Phase II (CAFII) Auction Public Notice (Draft PN) – an item the Commission will consider at its January Open Meeting.

The Draft PN, released on January 9, is scheduled for consideration at the Commission's Open Meeting scheduled for January 30. The item would:

  • Timeline: Schedule the auction to commence on July 24, 2018, and establish a short-form application deadline of March 30, 2018.
  • Minimum geographic area for bidding: Adopt census block groups as the minimum geographic area in which areas eligible for support can be grouped for bidding in the auction.
  • Bidding procedures. Adopt a multi-round, descending clock auction structure. As the clock descends, bidders will indicate whether they will bid to provide service to an area at a given performance tier and latency. Support will be assigned to no more than one bidder per area. The auction will end after the aggregate support amount of all bids is less than or equal to the total budget and there is no longer competition for support in any area.

The Draft PN also discusses short- and long-form application requirements and reserve price calculation methodology.

In late December 2017, the Commission released a Public Notice identifying the locations of nearly one million homes and small businesses in 48 states that are eligible for up to $2 billion in support for broadband deployment over the next decade. That Public Notice included a final list of census blocks eligible for the CAFII Auction, a list of the census block groups and associated reserve prices, and a map showing the eligible blocks within the census block groups. RWA members should review the map and eligible area lists carefully as they weigh whether or not to participate in Auction 903.

We will follow up with a detailed briefing upon formal adoption and release of the Draft PN after January 30, 2018.

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