April 30, 2020
Partner Tom Cohen
was quoted in the Communications Daily
article “As Industry Seeks Changes to RDOF Timing Amid COVID-19, Status Quo is Expected.” The article how discusses the coronavirus pandemic has heightened the need for ubiquitous broadband access, and some want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to hurry release of Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) money. Possible measures could include moving the auction date earlier than the proposed Oct. 22, or a quick review of RDOF applications deemed shovel-ready.
Some small providers are concerned they won't have enough time to review available census blocks and make prudent bids due to scheduling conflicts stemming from COVID-19. They are seeking an auction delay. Consensus indicates neither an auction delay nor accelerated timetable is likely, we found in interviews this month.
"The FCC staff is proficient in dealing with this, and I expect they will meet their deadlines," said Tom. He said it could be difficult for the FCC to move up the auction date because bidders need time to examine the final list of eligible census blocks to see whether they have viable business models there. "Everybody will sharpen their pencils and do their due diligence," he said.
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