FCC Funds Montana Broadband Expansion

The Federal Communications Commission completed an auction that selected companies who will increase high-speed internet access to Montana and the rest of rural America. The companies include cable operators, electric cooperatives, telephone companies, satellite companies and fixed wireless providers. The work is expected to be mostly completed within six years of a 10-year contract.

In Montana, Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines welcomed the news, which provides $125 Million to bring high-speed internet to over 45,000 locations across the state. Nationally, $9.2 billion is being spent on the upgrades from the FCC’s Rural Development Opportunity Fund.

Tester said he will work to hold the companies accountable through his role on the Senate Commerce Committee, saying in a news release, “This groundbreaking investment will help bring homes and businesses into the 21st century. Now it’s time to roll up our sleeves and make sure these resources are deployed quickly and effectively, and ensure no Montanan is left behind.”

The companies selected for work in Montana includes the most money going to a low-orbit communications satellite network from Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, also known as SpaceX.

Here are the six companies selected by the FCC:

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. -$72,723,246.
Blackfoot Telephone Cooperative – $12,703,077.
CenturyLink, Inc. – $28,379,920.
Commnet Wireless, LLC – $5,964,913.70..
Frontier Communications Northwest, LLC – $5,818,165.
Rural American Broadband Consortium – $226,116.