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RDOF Just Around the Corner

October, 2020
By Mike Dunne

Momentum is building toward the start of the FCC's RDOF auction, scheduled for October 29, 2020.

Earlier this week, the FCC released Public Notice (PN) DA 20-1187 announcing that 386 RDOF short-form applicants, out of an original applicant pool of 505, have been approved to participate in the auction. To read the full public notice, browse to this link:

In section C.44. of the PN, the FCC once again cautions applicants regarding prohibited communications, reiterating that “… an applicant is prohibited from communicating with any other applicant in any manner the substance of its own, or one another’s, or any competing applicant’s bids or bidding strategies, until after the post-auction deadline for winning bidders to submit applications for support.”

Also, please remember, the FCC’s quiet period applies to everyone who submitted a short form – not just the folks who are approved to bid. Further, this prohibition extends until the long-form application deadline, which will be announced in the Auction 904 closing public notice.

To help approved bidders prepare, the FCC is running mock auctions on October 23, 26, and 27. The mock auctions are less about bidding strategy and more about user experience. This is an opportunity for approved bidders to test the tech and make sure any hardware and systems that will be used for auction bidding are all working smoothly and are ready to go live on October 29th.

The FCC PN clarified the RDOF Phase 1 auction schedule as follows (times are Eastern):

  • October 29 (Thursday): Auction start, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • October 30 (Friday): No bidding
  • October 31 (Saturday): No bidding
  • November 1 (Sunday): No bidding
  • November 2 (Monday): Bidding resumes and will continue every business day until further notice

Once the auction begins, approved bidders will receive updates from the FCC. There probably won't be comprehensive updates every single day but, as the auction progresses, bidders will receive the information necessary to monitor the auction's progress and make any course corrections if and as needed.

Shortly after the auction ends, the FCC will issue a public notice that declares the auction closed, identifies the winning bidders, and establishes the deadline(s) for filing the long-form application. The importance of the long-form cannot be stressed enough. Through it, the FCC will qualify winning bidders to ensure that those who win awards are truly qualified to deliver on their commitments and use their RDOF awards - paid out over the next ten years - to help bridge the digital divide.

We are excited and looking forward to serving those who will vastly improve rural broadband service across America.

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