You may have heard talk about RDOF, or the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund, but what is it? The RDOF is a two-phased distribution of Universal Service Fund (USF) money to U.S. communications service providers. The goal of dispersing this money is to improve connectivity and quality of life in rural areas. Phase 1 of funding will provide 16.4 billion dollars to providers, while Phase 2 will provide 4.4 billion dollars. Service providers can bid on a percentage of funds to serve an area or areas will low connectivity, defined as having broadband speeds of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. The RDOF will include a clearing round in its weighted tiering system to support the fastest network company bids. Funding will be dispersed over ten years.
Bid winners will be required to submit a long-form application to the FCC and secure eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) status. Winners must have 40 percent completion by the end of the third year and 20 percent completion for the next three years, while years seven and eight will be used for locations not in the original census unit.
These benchmarks mean communications service providers and utility companies will need to move quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively to carry out planning and build the necessary infrastructure. Unfortunately, damaged utility lines are quite common. Repairs from unsafe digging practices and waste amount to approximately 61 billion dollars per year, which costs taxpayers. Part of this is due to loose regulations in certain states that make it easy for careless mistakes to be made, including providing poor instructions for line location and destroying markers that must be reinstalled. While the national 811 system is working to tighten regulations in these states, it is an important reminder for providers in other states to secure their planning and project implementation methods.
Trident Solutions represents five industry leaders of protection: Presco, Pro-Line, William Frick, and Rhino. Trident offers marking and damage prevention products necessary for utility companies to protect their assets as part of this planning and project implementation. Keep your company on track with your RDOF dollars and funds from Biden’s recent 1.2 trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. Avoid the mistakes, financial penalties, and wasted time that may accompany them. No matter where your project needs are, you can trust Trident Solutions to deliver.