On Monday, March 2, 2020, the Commission released the Public Notice (“Notice”) initiating the pre-auction process and seeking comment on proposed procedures for Phase I of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (“RDOF”) auction, Auction 904, which was adopted in the February Open Meeting (AU Docket No. 20-34, WC Docket Nos. 19-126, 10-90). The Auction will award up to $16 billion over ten years to service providers that commit to offer voice and broadband services to fixed locations in eligible unserved high-cost census blocks, as established in the January 2020 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Order. The Auction is expected to begin on October 22, 2020.

There were few substantive changes made to the adopted item, with the exception of certain revisions to the proposed application requirements. The adopted item adds a proposal to require applicants to provide in their short-form applications a brief description of any agreements related to auction participation to held identify joint bidding arrangements and seeks comment on the Commission’s authority to prohibit joint bidding arrangements between or among auction applicants. The adopted Notice also incorporates changes on limiting bidding eligibility for “providers that intend to use geostationary or medium earth satellites” in certain performance tier and latency combinations, clarifying from “satellite providers” as in the draft item, and seeks comment on adopting any other prohibitions or presumptions on other types of technologies for bid eligibility.

Comments on the Notice are due March 27, 2020.

Reply comments are due April 10, 2020.

Please Contact Us if you have any questions.