RDOF Resource Center

As organizations prepare their bidding strategies for the RDOF auction, we've gathered information and put pen to paper to help make the learning curve a little easier. There's a lot to keep track of and we're just trying to do our part as we've certainly benefited from the generosity of others over the years. Let us know what we're missing or if there's something that would be helpful for you.  

There's a lot to keep track of, we're here to help

Your Partners in RDOF

Networks are a very different beast and engineering know-how is critical to appropriately value network technologies. We specialize in FTTp, Fixed Wireless, 5G, and WMDM.

Lat/lon coordinates for  broadband serviceable locations to accelerate network design and HUBB filings. Data in all 50 states.

Understanding where your current assets are in relation to certain boundaries can answer many questions, including where your plant is for property taxes.

RDOF Eligible Areas

What You Need to Know: 
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

What is RDOF?

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is the latest iteration of the FCC’s universal service fund (USF) program, which aims to ensure that telecommunications services for rural areas are comparable to those enjoyed in urban and suburban areas. The RDOF will help accomplish this mission by funding the expansion of rural broadband access through $20.4 billion over ten years, to be distributed in two phases through an FCC managed reverse auction.

The first phase targets unserved rural territory, meaning there is no broadband service of at least 25/3 Mbps(Download/Upload), with up to $16 billion and is scheduled to commence on October 29, 2020. It’s estimated about 5.4 million locations will be eligible in the first phase, within approximately 62,000 census block groups. 

Winners of the auction funding will be required to offer both broadband and voice service to the locations in their winning census blocks; receiving 10 years of support, in monthly installments.

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is the latest iteration of the FCC’s universal service fund (USF) program, which aims to ensure that telecommunications services for rural areas are comparable to those enjoyed in urban and suburban areas. The RDOF will help accomplish this mission by funding the expansion of rural broadband access through $20.4 billion over ten years, to be distributed in two phases through an FCC managed reverse auction.

The first phase targets unserved rural territory, meaning there is no broadband service of at least 25/3 Mbps(Download/Upload), with up to $16 billion and is scheduled to commence on October 29, 2020. It’s estimated about 5.4 million locations will be eligible in the first phase, within approximately 62,000 census block groups. 

Winners of the auction funding will be required to offer both broadband and voice service to the locations in their winning census blocks; receiving 10 years of support, in monthly installments.

What is RDOF?

[UPDATED June 25th] 

Per the Public Notice released on June 25th, approximately 5,392,530 locations will be eligible in the RDOF auction, spanning 61,963 Census Block Groups around the U.S. 

The total annual reserve price for these areas is $2.7B, but it's important to remember that this is the annual maximum. Given that areas will be awarded in a reverse auction format (more on that later), the actual amount of support received for a given area will likely be lower than the reserve price. 

Note that while the number of locations and the reserve price are provided, the actual lat/lon and addresses of eligible locations are not provided by the FCC. As you might imagine, it becomes increasingly necessary to have this information when you're designing your networks, forcasting financials, and ultimately, providing service to these folks in need.

RDOF Summary

ELIGIBLE LOCATIONS

TIME HORIZON

FUNDING

$20.4B

5.4M

10 
Years

ELIGIBLE LOCATIONS

TIME HORIZON

5.4M

10 
 Years

FUNDING

$20.4B

Final List Available by October 8th

ReConnect - Round 1 
100% Loan Areas Now Included

Challenged Census Blocks Accepted

Challenged Census Blocks Rejected

Fewer Eligible Locations*

*Eligible locations as of June 25th, 2020, compared to the original estimate prior to this Public Notice.

Challenge Results

[UPDATED JUNE 25TH] 

The FCC released an updated list of eligible Census Block Groups to reflect the results of a challenge process conducted since the original public notice was released announcing RDOF. 

The challenge process was meant to give providers, local governments, and interested parties alike an opportunity to voice why certain areas should not be included in the auction. 

Challenges were made at the Census Block level, with 63,566 blocks being accepted (52% accepted). This resulted in roughly 600,000 eligible locations being removed from the auction from the original estimation of 6 million locations. 

Most accepted challenges were in areas where service greater than 25/3 has been made available since June 30th 2019 AND those providers reported voice subscribers in the corresponding state. The other notable challenges were for areas in which a provider has already entered into a binding agreement (via a grant with their state program) to provide service in the coming years. 

It's worth noting that this list is NOT final, with the final list to be released no later than 3 weeks prior to the start of bidding. That means that the final list should be available by October 8th. 

Read the full Public Notice for more detail.

Challenge Results

[UPDATED JUNE 25TH] 

The FCC released an updated list of eligible Census Block Groups to reflect the results of a challenge process conducted since the original public notice was released announcing RDOF. 

The challenge process was meant to give providers, local governments, and interested parties alike an opportunity to voice why certain areas should not be included in the auction. 

Challenges were made at the Census Block level, with 63,566 blocks being accepted (52% accepted). This resulted in roughly 600,000 eligible locations being removed from the auction from the original estimation of 6 million locations. 

Most accepted challenges were in areas where service greater than 25/3 has been made available since June 30th 2019 AND those providers reported voice subscribers in the corresponding state. The other notable challenges were for areas in which a provider has already entered into a binding agreement (via a grant with their state program) to provide service in the coming years. 

It's worth noting that this list is NOT final, with the final list to be released no later than 3 weeks prior to the start of bidding. That means that the final list should be available by October 8th. 

Read the full Public Notice for more detail.

*Eligible locations as of June 25th, 2020, compared to the original estimate prior to this Public Notice.

Final List Available by October 8th

ReConnect - Round 1 
100% Loan Areas Now Included

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

Note: 

The revised locations announced by year 6 are likely to be informed by several efforts: the Broadband DATA Act, the DODC, and updated data from the 2020 Census. 

High Level: 

Broadband DATA Act - Signed into law in March '20, mandates the FCC to create a Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric to be the basis of Broadband Maps going forward. Much of the language was born out of the Broadband Mapping Initiative

DODC - Replacement for Form 477, coverage polygons would show served areas at a sub-census block level. More below.

So what's on the line here? Should you bid and win on an eligible Census Block Group, you'd receive 10 years of support funds, distributed monthly. Payments will be received once a long-form application is submitted and approved.

In exchange, an awarded provider agrees to offer commercially at least one voice and one broadband service meeting relevant service requirements. These services must be made available to all locations within the awarded state per the following timeline:

End of Year 3 - 40% of required locations

End of Year 4 - 60% of required locations

End of Year 5 - 80% of required locations

End of Year 6 - 100%* of required locations

*By the end of year 6, revised location totals are to be released. 

Per the FCC website
"If there are fewer locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the revised number of locations by end of year six. If there are more locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the cost model-estimated number of locations by the end of year six and must serve the remainder of locations by the end of year eight"

Buildout Requirements

So what's on the line here? Should you bid and win on an eligible Census Block Group, you'd receive 10 years of support funds, distributed monthly. Payments will be received once a long-form application is submitted and approved.

In exchange, an awarded provider agrees to offer commercially at least one voice and one broadband service meeting relevant service requirements. These services must be made available to all locations within the awarded state per the following timeline:

End of Year 3 - 40% of required locations

End of Year 4 - 60% of required locations

End of Year 5 - 80% of required locations

End of Year 6 - 100%* of required locations

*By the end of year 6, revised location totals are to be released. 

Per the FCC website
"If there are fewer locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the revised number of locations by end of year six. If there are more locations than originally estimated by the cost model, support recipients must serve the cost model-estimated number of locations by the end of year six and must serve the remainder of locations by the end of year eight"

Reporting Requirements

RDOF Reporting Requirements

Unless something changes, RDOF awardees will follow the same path that CAF II awardees do: annually report the geocoded locations (lat/lon + address or textual reference) "where you have newly deployed facilities capable of delivering broadband that meets or exceeds the defined speed tiers in the previous year", per the USAC Website

That likely means that RDOF awardees will need to file locations in the HUBB Portal (High Cost Universal Broadband) per the same deadlines (see image to the left).

Form 477 Reporting Requirements

DODC Reporting Requirements

Any RDOF reporting requirements are in addition to existing Form 477 Requirements, which as of this writing, have not been substantially changed. Should you need a refresher, more detail can be found on the FCC website. Learn More.

Adopted in August 2019, the DODC was the first step towards more granular broadband maps and the improvement of Form 477. The gist is that providers would file coverage polygons as a means of indicating where they provide service (or could provision without extraordinary effort) within a Census Block.

Though adopted in August 2019, no Public Notice has been released by the Commission's OEA (Office of Economics and Analytics) indicating the formal requirements and deadlines. It's our understanding that USAC (previously charged with administering this) has put the corresponding RFP on hold indefinitely. The Commission will likely take it from here. Read the original order.

March 1:     Submit geocoded locations                                  from previous year to HUBB


July 1:         1) Certify data by filing Form 481
                     2) Submit Performance                                              Measure Testing


October 1:  54.314 Certification 
                     (if necessary)

(Likely) Important Filing Dates

March 1:

Submit geocoded locations from previous year to HUBB

July 1:

October 1:

54.314 Certification (if necessary)

1) Certify data by filing Form 481

2) Submit Performance Measure Testing

Long Form

Now that you know 


Approximate timing



Link to download checklist

Graphic for long form

RDOF Bid Preparation

Coming Soon:

Location Data Brief: Why Coordinates Matter in RDOF?

Whitepaper: Building the Business Case for RDOF

Long Form Checklist

How the Auction Will Work


How the Auction Works: 
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Key Tools

Grab from Jon/Mike/Jim Slides


INSERT ELEMENT FOR FEEDBACK: "WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LEARN"

INSERT Location brief download thing (maybe pop up at the bottom?)

RDOF Timeline

June 15th

Online Auction Application Tutorial  Available

July 1st

Short-Form Application Filing Window Opens

July 15th

Short-Form Application Filing Window Closes

October 8th

Final Eligible Areas List Available


October 14th

Auction Bidding Tutorial Available


October 26th

Mock Auction 
Begins

October 29th

Bidding Begins

November 24th

Bidding Ends

Pre-Auction Timeline

Auction Timeline

...the actual lat/lon and addresses of eligible locations are not provided by the FCC.

Short Form Application Window:

July 1st - July 15th

Deadline: 6pm EST, July 15th

Short Form Instructions

Think of the Short Form as your ticket to the auction, it tells the FCC you want to participate, but does not mean you have to bid. Providers must submit these on time and indicate which states they want to be allowed to bid in.   

You have a two week window from July 1st - July 15th to submit your Short Form application, also known as FCC Form 183. These are the same thing. 

Applications are submitted at auctions.fcc.gov and are due by 6pm EST on July 15th.

You'll need to log into the auctions website with your FRN and password to complete the application. If you don't have an FRN, you can obtain one by registering through the Commission Registration System (CORES).

(Likely) Important Filing Dates

Note: Information shared on this page is meant to be a helpful guide, but bidders should work with their team and partners to perform their own due diligence prior to participating in the auction. 

For more information contact us at:

broadbandfabric@costquest.com

Copyright © CostQuest Associates 2020. All rights reserved.

Visualizing Success in RDOF: Where to Bid

Bid Preparation: 
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

Key Questions

Grab from Jon/Mike/Jim Slides


Webinar Replays

Note: Information shared on this page is meant to be a helpful guide, but bidders should work with their team and partners to perform their own due diligence prior to participating in the auction. 

RDOF resources in your inbox

Updates

Mapping Reports

RDOF resources in your inbox

Get RDOF resources in your inbox

Workshops

If you're still looking for more*, we've also developed some datasets that are already helping CAF awardees and RDOF bidders like yourself design networks faster, build more accurate financial models, and streamline HUBB reporting requirements. 

We're happy to chat if you'd like to learn more.

Privacy Policy

Solutions

*CostQuest Associates does not provide advisory or support for the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Auction. CostQuest will not discuss auction plans, auction strategy, bidding or bidding strategy.

RDOF Resource Center

There's a lot to keep track of, we're here to help

What You Need to Know: 
Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

RDOF Summary

Short Form Application Window:

July 1st - July 15th

Deadline: 6pm EST, July 15th

Short Form Instructions

Think of the Short Form as your ticket to the auction, it tells the FCC you want to participate, but does not mean you have to bid. Providers must submit these on time and indicate which states they want to be allowed to bid in.   

You have a two week window from July 1st - July 15th to submit your Short Form application, also known as FCC Form 183. These are the same thing. 

Applications are submitted at auctions.fcc.gov and are due by 6pm EST on July 15th.

You'll need to log into the auctions website with your FRN and password to complete the application. If you don't have an FRN, you can obtain one by registering through the Commission Registration System (CORES).

Short Form Application Window:

July 1st - July 15th

Deadline: 6pm EST, July 15th

Eligible Areas

[UPDATED June 25th] 

Per the Public Notice released on June 25th, approximately 5,392,530 locations will be eligible in the RDOF auction, spanning 61,963 Census Block Groups around the U.S. 

The total annual reserve price for these areas is $2.7B, but it's important to remember that this is the annual maximum. Given that areas will be awarded in a reverse auction format (more on that later), the actual amount of support received for a given area will likely be lower than the reserve price. 

Note that while the number of locations and the reserve price are provided, the actual lat/lon and addresses of eligible locations are not provided by the FCC. As you might imagine, it becomes increasingly necessary to have this information when you're designing your networks, forcasting financials, and ultimately, providing service to these folks in need.

...the actual lat/lon and addresses of eligible locations are not provided by the FCC.

Challenged Census Blocks Rejected

Fewer Eligible Locations*

Challenged Census Blocks Accepted

Buildout Requirements

Year 3

Note: 

The revised locations announced by year 6 are likely to be informed by several efforts: the Broadband DATA Act, the DODC, and updated data from the 2020 Census. 

High Level: 

Broadband DATA Act - Signed into law in March '20, mandates the FCC to create a Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric to be the basis of Broadband Maps going forward. Much of the language was born out of the Broadband Mapping Initiative

DODC 
- Replacement for Form 477, coverage polygons would show served areas at a sub-census block level. More below.

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6