The funding is to be spent over the next 15 years, starting on 1st January next year
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the authorisation of $18.28 billion to be paid to carriers to help them expand broadband access in rural America via the Enhanced Alternative Connect America Cost Model (Enhanced A-CAM).
The 368 companies involved in the scheme are collectively committing to deploy broadband services to over 700,000 locations across the country, delivering speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload, and to maintain or improve existing services of the same quality across 2 million locations in 44 states.
The Enhanced A-CAM was established in July with aim of providing universal service high-cost support to participating carriers to serve consumers with broadband services in some of the most rural areas of the country.
The scheme is an expansion of the original A-CAM project, which was established back in 2016 and runs until 2026.
The Enhanced A-CAM project will provide increased universal service support to certain rural carriers in exchange for increasing rollout to more locations at higher speeds.
Funding for the programme will be released at a rate of $1.27 billion annually, or $1.33 billion annually if certain conditions are met, over the next 15 years.
The programme is aligned with the deployment targets of the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Programme, introduced by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in 2021.
The BEAD programme, launched as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, dedicates more than $42 billion to expand high-speed internet access to everyone in America, aiming to “get everyone online”. The scheme will fund the planning and building of the infrastructure needed to increase the adoption of high-speed internet.
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