The Federal Communications Commission has awarded four Nebraska communications companies $41-Million dollars as part of an effort to expand broadband services across rural America.
Commission spokesman Mark Wigfeild says the commission began pushing rural broadband expansion initiatives in 2011 when it realized internet was becoming a community necessity.
“Kids use it in school, companies use it for job hiring, businesses use it for ordering, we all use it for information, we use it for communications.” says Wigfeild. “It is just everywhere you go.”
The winning companies were awarded via a cost-saving auction system held by the FCC’s Connect America Fund. It’s a model Wigfeild says the FCC has used in 45 other states.
“Basically, with this auction system the low bidder wins.” says Wigfeild.
As an example, he says if the commission told companies they would offer $100 to company to install broadband per designated location, the companies who could do the job at the best quality for the lowest price would win the bid. It’s a model Wigfeild says the FCC has used in 45 other states.
According to him, the commission sees the effort to expand broadband coverage as a part of a long-standing mission to assure that “all Americans have access to communications services.”
“In the last century that was phone service.” says Wigfeild. “In this century that’s high-speed internet.”
The FCC has been given nearly $1.5-Billion to expand rural broadband services over the next 10 years.