RUS Prepares to Fund Satellite Projects

The RUS has decided that, in round 2, there will be a specific and clearly defined role for satellite internet service providers.

Satellite service grants will be accepted for specific areas (the map showing those areas has not yet been published).

Satellite service is designed for those areas where wireline and wireless won’t work, where either would cost over $10,000 per home connected.

Satellite service providers will be obliged to provide CPE for free and to provide service at a price at least 25 percent below prices that the service provider published on December 1, 2009.

The expected cost of service is at most $750 per home.

These may seem like tough conditions, but the RUS is in effect handing over specific areas to satellite providers — and there are not very many of them (although some allow ISPs to resell their service).

In round one, several satellite providers submitted bids covering most of the nation. I preferred those aimed at areas that presented particular challenges to wired and wireless internet providers.

The RUS has set aside up to $100 million for satellite projects. We’re waiting to see which areas have been set aside for satellite, but this looks like a very good opportunity for those service providers that know how to deploy satellite internet service.

Cross posted to WiNOG.

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