The FCC has authorized more than $590 million to support rural broadband statewide, including $15,831,071 to Nemont Telephone Cooperative for Divide, McKenzie and Williams counties.
The money will be used over the next decade for maintaining, improving, and expanding affordable broadband for 41,578 rural homes and businesses.
The authorization in North Dakota was part of a nationwide authorization of over $4.9 billion in support over the next decade for 455,334 homes and businesses served by 171 carriers in 39 states and American Samoa, including 44,243 locations on Tribal lands.
The support is targeted to smaller rural carriers, traditionally known as “rate-of-return” carriers. These carriers agreed this year to accept subsidies based on the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model, or A-CAM, which provides predictability, rewards efficiency, and provides more value for each taxpayer dollar. The homes and businesses are in sparsely populated rural areas where the per-location price of deployment and ongoing costs of providing broadband service are high, requiring support from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to facilitate network improvements and keep rates reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.
In Divide County, the FCC allocated $5,105,463 to expand access to 277 locations. In McKenzie, there are 45 locations and Nemont will get $1,065,351.