Are you ready for RDOF?

Capitalize on the RDOF opportunity.

Are you ready for RDOF?

Capitalize on the RDOF opportunity.

21 million rural Americans lack access to broadband​

More than ever with today’s COVID-19 pandemic, the digital divide in America impacts the education of our youth and healthcare for families, further hampering job growth and business opportunities.

Calix has helped rural telecom providers close the digital divide for over 20 years and is doing so again with the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). 

Calix is ready to help you succeed with your RDOF plans with a comprehensive portfolio of broadband access solutions suitable for a wide range of deployment scenarios.

RDOF

USDA ReConnect

CAF II Auction

 

What is RDOF?

The Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) is a new $20 billion program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed to finance the construction of high-speed broadband networks in America’s unserved rural communities. RDOF will bridge the digital divide by bringing life-changing broadband connectivity to nearly six million rural homes and businesses across the country. 

RDOF promises to bridge the digital divide once and for all

"Since my first day as Chairman of the FCC, my number one priority has been closing the digital divide and bringing the benefits of the Internet age to all Americans."

--Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman

 

RDOF Resources for Service Providers

RDOF Long-Form Technical Primer

Service providers seeking to participate in the RDOF auction must complete the Long-Form application. Calix has provided the following document to assist in this important and timely task. 

Calix Access Solutions for RDOF

Calix platforms and services are the foundation for our solutions

The Intelligent Access EDGE solution simplifies the access network and operations while providing connectivity to the home.

The Revenue EDGE solution delivers the best subscriber experience within the home.

 

The RDOF Opportunity for Service Providers

RDOF presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for service providers of all types and sizes—ILECs, electric cooperatives, wireless Internet service providers (WISPs), and satellite providers. By deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in rural areas that lack adequate high-speed broadband services, you can expand your business and help change the way people in rural America live, work and play. 

Which types of service providers should bid for RDOF?

If you are a service provider capable of delivering broadband—such as an electric cooperative, WISP, municipality, telecom provider or cable company—you should consider making an RDOF bid. 

The RDOF framework makes it easier for smaller service providers to participate. Previous barriers to entry have been removed. For example, incumbent service providers no longer have the first right of refusal on large bidding areas, and successful bidders are not required to provide state-wide support. 

The FCC will also use a smaller bidding area for RDOF—census blocks. This ensures that all interested bidders, including small service providers, have the flexibility to design a network that matches their business model.

 

RDOF phases and auction

RDOF will be administered in two phases. In Phase I, $16 billion will be awarded for census blocks that lack access to 25/3 Mbps broadband services. In Phase II, $4.4 billion, along with any funds not awarded in Phase I, will be awarded for census blocks that are partially unserved by 25/3 Mbps service.

For both phases, the FCC is dispersing funds through a reverse auction. The auction for Phase I, called Auction 904, will begin on October 29, 2020.

RDOF phase I eligible locations

In Phase I, RDOF’s eligible households and small businesses are largely those where price cap carriers are receiving Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II cost model support (which will end at the end of 2021) and that do not have 25/3 Mbps broadband service. 

Eligible locations are in census blocks where no provider is offering, or has committed to offering, service of at least 25/3 Mbps. This is based on Form 477 data received from service providers, either via the CAF II auction, the USDA ReConnect program, or state-specific programs. 

FCC RDOF maps provide the number of locations and funding levels on a census block group level.

How does the RDOF Auction 904 work?

 

RDOF is technology agnostic, so you can use a variety of fixed technologies in your bid. These include fiber, hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC), digital subscriber line (DSL), fixed wireless, and satellite. The RDOF bidding process favors fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) technologies over DSL and fixed wireless because they provide higher performance and lower latency. 

The RDOF auction, known as Auction 904, is adopting the same weighting system used in the CAF II Auction and will fund bidders immediately when they have the “best” performance. This is defined as the lowest combination of performance tier plus latency weight at the budget clearing round. The clearing round occurs when the aggregate cost of bids is less than or equal to the $16 billion budget. 

This rule gives an advantage to service providers that are willing to make the long-term investment in fiber by providing performance at the Gigabit tier. It also discourages bids for the minimum 25/3 Mbps tier.

To determine implied support amounts, the bid percentage is adjusted for performance tier and latency, and multiplied by the area’s auction-adjusted reserve price. Each performance tier and latency combination (T+L) has an associated adjustment weight. Service provider bids must meet minimum performance and latency requirements.

Auction 904 Performance Tiers

Speed Usage Allowance Weight
Minimum ≥ 25/3 Mbps ≥ 250 GB or U.S. median, whichever is higher 50
Baseline ≥ 50/5 Mbps ≥ 250 GB or U.S. median, whichever is higher 35
Above Baseline ≥ 100/20 Mbps ≥ 2 TB 20
Gigabit ≥ 1Gbps/500 Mbps ≥ 2 TB 0

Auction 904 Latency Tiers

Latency Weight
Low Latency ≤ 100 ms 0
High Latency ≤ 750 ms & MOS ≥ 4 40
 

 

COMPLIANCE NON-COMPLIANCE MEASURE
Teir 1: 5% to less than 15% required number of locations Quarterly reporting
Tier 2: 15% to less than 25% required number of locations Quarterly reporting + withhold 15% of monthly support
Tier 3: 25% to less than 50% required number of locations Quarterly reporting + withhold 25% of monthly support
Tier 4: 50% or more required number of locations Quarterly reporting + withhold 50% of monthly support for six months; after six months withhold 100% of monthly support and recover a percentage of support equal to compliance gap plus 10% of support disbursed to date
 

What obligations will service providers have?

If your bid is successful, you will be required to deploy to 40 percent of your locations by the end of the third year and 100 percent of your locations by the end of the sixth year. If there are gaps in compliance, the FCC may withhold monthly support. The FCC will also likely enforce other obligations, such as performance testing.

 

What are the next steps after the RDOF Auction?

There’s a two-step application process for participation in the RDOF Auction, which consists of completing a short form and a long form. If you are a winning bidder, you must complete the long form after funds are awarded. It must include additional information about qualifications, funding, and the network you will be using to meet your obligations under RDOF. 

Within a specified number of days, you must also submit a letter from an eligible bank committing to issue a letter of credit. When you receive notification that the entity is ready to be authorized, you must obtain a letter of credit from an eligible bank to cover disbursements until you are in compliance with certain service milestones. 

Within 180 days of being announced as a winning bidder, you must also certify that your organization is an eligible telecommunications carrier in any areas for which your organization is seeking support and submit relevant supporting documentation. 

Once your long form application is approved, your organization will be authorized to begin receiving support. 

Timeline and Deadlines

Future dates and deadlines will be anncounced in public notices prior to the auction and after the auction closes.

Phase 1 Short-Form Application Filing Window July 1, 2020
Phase 1 Short-Form Application Filing Deadline July 15, 2020
Phase 1 Mock Auction TBD
Phase 1 Bidding Begins October 29, 2020
Phase 1 Form 683 Long-Form Filing Window Opens TBD
Phase 1 Form 683 Long-Form Filing Deadline TBD

Future dates and deadlines will be anncounced in public notices prior to the auction and after the auction closes.

 

RDOF frequently asked questions

How does RDOF work?

The FCC is disbursing $20.4 billion to service providers over ten years to build broadband networks in unserved and partially served rural areas. The funds are being disbursed through a reverse auction and will be awarded to bidders with the lowest combination of performance tier and latency weight. 

 

What does RDOF stand for?

RDOF stands for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, a new $20.4 billion program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed to finance the construction of high-speed broadband networks in America’s unserved rural communities.

 

When is the RDOF auction?

The RDOF Auction, Auction 904, begins on October 29, 2020.

 

What is the difference between RDOF and CAF?

RDOF is an extension of the Connect America Fund (CAF) that will provide $20.4 billion in funding over a ten-year period to support the construction of broadband networks in unserved rural areas across the country.

 

What is the RDOF auction timeline?

According to the FCC, the RDOF timeline is as follows:

  • An auction bidding tutorial will be available online by mid-October
  • A mock auction will occur in mid-October
  • The RDOF auction will begin on October 29, 2020.

Who can participate in the RDOF auction?

Service providers of all types, including ILECs, electric coops, wireless internet service providers (WISPs), and satellite providers can participate in the RDOF auction.

 

How does RDOF bidding work?

The RDOF auction is a reverse auction that will fund bidders immediately when they have the lowest combination of performance tier plus latency weight at the budget clearing round.

 

What are the RDOF buildout requirements?

Successful bidders will be required to deploy to 40 percent of their locations by the end of the third year and 100 percent of their locations by the end of the sixth year.

 

What are RDOF census blocks?

Census blocks are the smallest geographic used by the United States Census Bureau to collect census data. The FCC uses census blocks that are unserved or partially served by high-speed broadband services as the bidding areas for the RDOF auction.

 

Is RDOF technology agnostic?

Yes, RDOF is technology agnostic. Bidders can use a variety of technologies, including fiber, hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC), digital subscriber line (DSL), fixed wireless, and satellite. Fiber technologies are favored because they provide the best combination of higher speed and lower latency.

 

Does RDOF support fixed wireless bids?

Yes, RDOF supports bids from wireless internet service providers (WISPs).

 

What are the RDOF letter of credit requirements?

Success RDOF bidders must obtain a letter of credit from an eligible bank to cover disbursements until they are in compliance with certain service milestones.

 

Where is the map that shows RDOF-eligible areas?

The FCC has published a map on its website that shows the areas eligible for funding through RDOF.