|By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief|
|Sparks didn’t fly among the FCC Commissioners Thursday as vigorously as they often do over an item to set the launch of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund in motion. Yet there was still room to disagree over how fast the agency is working to distribute funds to broadband providers.|
Chairman Ajit Pai announced the fund this spring alongside President Donald Trump. It will direct up to $20.4 billion over ten years to help providers build out broadband in unserved rural areas. The money is repurposed from existing subsidy dollars.
Commissioner Michael O’Rielly lauded the effort, which he said, “takes necessary and appropriate steps to ensure unserved areas are prioritized.” He asked for extra financial incentives for providers to serve the hardest areas and is pleased those made it into the final Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Continue Reading