The FCC has announced the first auction of high-cost Universal Service Fund subsidies for mobile broadband. According to the FCC, the auction will provide one-time support to wireless carriers providing at least 3G mobile voice and broadband.
That money will come from a $300 million Mobility Fund the FCC established as part of its reform of the USF high-cost fund last fall.
"As our new map demonstrates, millions of Americans still live, work, and travel in areas where advanced mobile networks have not been built out," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. "Through the FCC's Connect America Fund [of which the Mobility Fund is a subset], we're helping complete our nation's wired and wireless infrastructure, which will lead to job creation, economic growth, and innovation in the 21st century."
The Mobility Fund is part of the FCC's migration of phone subsidies to broadband.
The FCC also released an interactive map to provide a "preliminary" indication of where such service is lacking and subsidies are available, but also asked for input on how to better pinpoint the geographic areas that are eligible for support.
The map shows that the geographical open spaces are primarily in the West and Midwest, with Idaho having the largest swath of potentially eligible one-time, phase 1 auction proceeds.
The FCC said that between now and the auction, scheduled for September 2012, it will provide a final list of the census blocks available for support.