The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund
If you haven't heard there is a lot of money flowing into the states to expand broadband coverage into rural areas. The discrepancies in broadband coverage really loomed large as Mississippi's schoolchildren and adults had to deal with less-than-ideal Internet coverage while working remotely during the pandemic. The prohibitive cost of bandwidth combined with the lack of infrastructure in rural areas makes it difficult to prepare our young leaders for modern jobs supported by the digital economy.
In December 2020, the FCC dished out $9.2 billion under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund but the FCC has warned service providers that might not have utilized that money to help rural communities. Along with the latest funding release the FCC introduced the Rural Broadband Accountability Plan that will perform audits and quality checks of rural broadband connectivity. In Mississippi, the Public Service Commission is questioning AT&T because the company received more than $283 Million to expand broadband coverage in Mississippi. According to some, this money may not have been used effectively.
The E-Rate program helps schools and libraries obtain affordable broadband and related services and equipment. Below is a chart of the largest monies awarded based on zip code. At BeCloud we are glad to see this investment of Federal dollars to our youth!