Charter offered some details today about its $1.2 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) win. Perhaps the most interesting detail is that Charter plans to spend $5 billion in total on the RDOF rural broadband buildout, which means the company will be investing $3.8 billion of its own money on RDOF projects. It’s interesting news because it sheds light on what it took for any bidder to win in the RDOF auction, which awarded funding to bring broadband to unserved rural areas to the lowest bidder, with a weighting system designed to favor bids to deliver higher-speed, lower-latency service.
AMESVILLE — Heather Mitchell is overwhelmed. The single mom of three boys struggles just to send a text message. She and her sons — Micah, 6, River, 4, and Wren, 2 — have been living without consistent internet access in Athens County for nearly eight years. The family moved to Amesville, a village about 80 miles southeast of Columbus and 13 miles northeast of Athens, about a year and a half ago.
The broadband access gap is no new issue. In fact, research has proven the issue may be worse than what current federal data suggests. Research from both Microsoft and Pew Research indicates that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has vastly overestimated how many Americans have access to broadband. While FCC data suggests that 25 million Americans lack access to a broadband connection, Microsoft found that 162.8 million people do not use internet at broadband speeds.