Congressional Letter to FCC on Rural Digital Opportunity Fund

An email from the Fiber Broadband Association president urges members to reach out to congressmen and senators to sign a letter to the FCC which encourages the FCC to carefully select winning broadband program bidders.

In December, $9 billion was passed to the winning bidders to develop a network of broadband service in rural communities called the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Soon after, concerns were raised regarding the ability of the technology and network designs proposed by some bidders to deliver the performance promised.

“I wanted to make you aware of a letter Members of Congress are sending to the FCC urging the agency to closely scrutinize the long form submissions of winning bidders to ensure compliance with the program's requirements,” said Gary Bolton, FBA president.

Attached to the email was a draft of the Congressional letter and a list of the Members of Congress that have agreed to sign.

“If your Congressman or Senator is not on this list, I urge you to reach out to their office and request that they sign as soon as possible,” he writes. “We would like for the FCC to hear from all members of Congress that rural America deserves network designs that can deliver high performance broadband service, as promised,” said Bolton.

The letter to the FCC is being circulated by Representatives Clyburn and Walberg and Senators Klobuchar and Thune regarding the RDOF.

To sign, contact Seth Ismail in Rep Clyburn's office at


See the letter below.

January [X], 2021 


We write today regarding the recent announcement that Phase 1 of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction is complete, with more than $9.2 billion slated to be awarded to reach more than 5.2 million unserved locations across rural America.

We all hope this program will be a great success—and it is in that spirit that we write to encourage you to take every reasonable measure possible to ensure this turns out to be the case. 

For far too long, too many Americans have lacked access to the affordable, high-speed broadband services they need to participate in today’s online world. We appreciate the steps the FCC has taken to provide connectivity to more homes and businesses. The initial estimates of the locations that RDOF Phase 1 could connect are encouraging, and we are eager to see this program succeed so that more individuals and businesses receive the broadband services promised. 

The hard work of carrying out this program will now begin in earnest. Transparency and accountability must be part and parcel of the administration of any program, and we urge you to thoroughly vet the winning bidders to ensure that they are capable of deploying and delivering the services they committed to providing. We therefore believe it is essential that the FCC apply the scrutiny needed to ensure the funding will be used wisely and effectively, consistent with the goals of the Universal Service Fund (USF) High Cost Program. Without proper due diligence today, we fear that we will not know whether funds were improperly spent for years to come. 

As responsible stewards of USF funds, we ask that the FCC redouble its efforts to review the long-form applications that will now be submitted. We urge the FCC to validate that each provider in fact has the technical, financial, managerial, operational skills, capabilities, and resources to deliver the services that they have pledged for every American they plan to serve regardless of the technology they use. We also strongly encourage the FCC to make as public as possible the status of its review and consider opportunities for public input on the applications. Such transparency and accountability will be essential to ensure the success of this program and to minimize any opportunities for fraud or abuse. 

Thank you for your attention to this matter, and we look forward to continuing to work with you to develop and implement programs to close the digital divide. 


cc: The Honorable Brendan Carr

The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel The Honorable Geoffrey Starks

The Honorable Nathan Simington 


Here’s the list of signers so far: 


Senate Democrats

  1. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  2. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) (signs Bernard Sanders)
  3. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  4. Tina Smith (D-MN)
  5. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
  6. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
  7. Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)
  8. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
  9. Brian Schatz (D-HI)
  10. Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  11. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
  12. Ron Wyden (D-OR)


Senate Republicans

  1. John Thune (R-SD)
  2. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
  3. James Risch (R-ID)
  4. Roger Marshall (R-KS) (signs Roger Marshall, M.D.)
  5. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  6. John Boozman (R-AR)
  7. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
  8. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
  9. John Barrasso (R-WY)
  10. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
  11. Tom Cotton (R-AR)
  12. Joni Ernst (R-IA)
  13. Steve Daines (R-MT)


House Democrats

  1. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)
  2. Angie Craig (D-MN)
  3. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
  4. Peter Welch (D-VT)
  5. David Trone (D-MD)
  6. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
  7. Ron Kind (D-WI)
  8. Ed Case (D-HW)
  9. Cindy Axne (D-IA)
  10. Steven Horsford (D-NV)
  11. Sanford Bishop (D-GA)
  12. Mark Pocan (D-WI)
  13. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA)
  14. Dina Titus (D-NV)
  15. Ro Khanna (D-CA)
  16. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ)
  17. Jared Huffman (D-CA)
  18. Richard Neal (D-MA)


House Republicans

  1. Tim Walberg (R-MI)
  2. Randy Feenstra (R-IA)
  3. Ben Cline (R-VA)
  4. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
  5. Andy Barr (R-KY)
  6. Robert Aderholt (R-AL)
  7. Austin Scott (R-GA)
  8. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN)
  9. Bob Good (R-VA)
  10. Troy Balderson (R-OH)
  11. David Rouzer (R-NC)
  12. Ralph Norman (R-SC)
  13. David Rouzer (R-NC)
  14. Ashley Hinson (R-IA)
  15. Rick Allen (R-GA)
  16. Drew Ferguson (R-GA)
  17. Tom Tiffany (R-WI)
  18. Greg Murphy, M.D. (R-NC)
  19. David McKinley, P.E. (R-WV)
  20. John Moolenaar (R-MI)
  21. Jack Bergman (R-MI)
  22. Rodney Davis (R-IL)
  23. Glenn Grothman (R-WI)
  24. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND)
  25. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
  26. Tony Gonzales (R-TX)
  27. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA)
  28. Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S.
  29. Matthew Rosendale, Sr. (R-MT)
  30. Billy Long (R-MO)
  31. Ted Budd (R-NC)
  32. Brad R. Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH)
  33. Tom Rice (R-SC)
  34. Dan Newhouse (R-WA)
  35. Greg Pence (R-IN)
  36. Andrew Clyde (R-GA)
  37. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA)
  38. Buddy Carter (R-GA)
  39. Tom Cole (R-OK)


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