TAMPA. Fla. (WFLA) — The Federal Communications Commission is set to authorize an additional $700 million to bring rural Floridians and millions of other Americans better access to high-speed internet.
The FCC announced it is ready to authorize its fourth round of funding for new broadband deployments through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, the commission’s next step in bridging the digital divide. In this wave, 50 broadband providers will bring broadband service to over 400,000 locations across 26 states.
Florida is said to receive over $82.5 million if the funding wave is authorized.
“This latest announcement highlights the agency’s commitment to supporting even more opportunities to connect hundreds of thousands of Americans to high-speed, reliable broadband service while doing our due diligence to ensure the applicants can deliver to these unserved communities as promised,” Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said.
The 26 states slated for funding include Florida, Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
As of late 2021, nearly 17 million school children lacked access to the internet at home when thousands of students across the U.S. received their education virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will ensure that networks stand the test of time by prioritizing higher network speeds and lower latency, so that those benefitting from these networks will be able to use tomorrow’s Internet applications as well as today’s,” the FCC’s website said.