Over 100 NMI homes, biz could get high-speed internet

Locations eligible for support from FCC’s Connect America Fund this summer

WASHINGTON—Over 100 rural homes and businesses in Northern Mariana Islands that are currently unserved by high-speed Internet service could get connectivity in the near future.

These homes and businesses are in unserved areas of Northern Mariana Islands eligible for financial support from the next phase of Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund, which helps offset the high cost of extending broadband service into rural areas. The FCC will be distributing these funds through an innovative “reverse auction,” which is scheduled to launch on July 24.

“Connecting the unconnected in rural America is my top priority,” said FCC chair Ajit Pai. “I’m excited that our CAF auction will provide opportunities for innovative companies and cooperatives to bridge the digital divide for the Northern Mariana Islands consumers and small businesses that lack high-speed access today.”

Nationwide, providers will compete for up to $2 billion in support to expand access to broadband to nearly a million homes and locations in unserved rural areas over the next decade. The auction will provide opportunities for new entrants to the marketplace, regardless of technology, including phone companies, fixed wireless service providers, satellite providers, cable companies and electric utility broadband providers.

By harnessing market forces, the auction is designed to provide consumers with high-quality, broadband service in an efficient, cost-effective way. The application period for providers seeking to participate in the auction runs from March 19 to March 30.

Broadband access is essential in the 21st century for jobs, education, information and economic development.

Since 2011, the FCC has targeted more than $9 billion in support for rural broadband expansion to over 4 million homes and small businesses through its Connect America Fund. For more information on the Connect America Fund Phase II auction.

According to a chart showing Northern Mariana Islands counties with areas eligible for support from the auction, along with the number of homes and businesses (locations), 83 sites on Rota will be qualified for the FCC program, while two will be qualified on Saipan and 21 on Tinian.

For more information on the Connect America Fund Phase II auction, visit https://www.fcc.gov/connect-america-fund-phase-ii-auction. (PR)

Press Release
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