700,000 unserved rural homes will now be connected. The cost, $1.488B, just over $2,000/home, startled me. Rural builds are expensive; I was involved in one in Vermont that came in over $4,000 home. $2,000 is half or less of the costs in the CAF program for the big telcos or New York State's separate program. The government saved $billions.
Nearly all will have speeds of 25 megabits or more. Half will receive 100 megabits. Some will get gigabit fiber. About 1/4th will receive Internet from a Viasat satellite, which keeps getting better. Bids were rated by the speeds offered, with a preference for higher speeds. Favoring faster service in the bidding process paid off.
Almost half the money went to independent wireless operators, WISPs. Rural electric coops also are deeply involved. The traditional telcos won few of the bids.