Winning bidders must deploy either 3G service within two years or 4G service within three years of the award. The Mobility Fund will award up to US $300 million that was reserved out of savings from the Commission's Universal Service Fund (USF) reforms.
As part of last year's reform and modernization of USF, the Commission for the first time made universal mobile service an express universal service goal, and created the Mobility Fund to help close the nation's gaps in mobile wireless service.
In this reverse auction, bidders will indicate the amount of one-time support they need to deploy service meeting rigorous performance standards in unserved areas within the required timeframe. Bidders will compete not only against other carriers that may be seeking support in the same areas, but also against carriers bidding for support in other areas nationwide. Support will be awarded based on the lowest bid amounts submitted, but will not be awarded to more than one provider per area. Successful bidders will be awarded support for an area at the price they bid.
The one-time support offered under Phase I of the Mobility Fund is in addition to any ongoing support provided under existing high-cost universal service program mechanisms. The Commission will offer an additional $50 million in one-time support to Tribal lands through a Tribal Mobility Fund Phase I. Phase II of the Mobility Fund will provide $500 million annually for ongoing support of mobile services.
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