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The U.S. government has made it a priority to get high speed internet to rural areas to help close the gaps in education, work force and quality of life.

Early this month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized over $69 million in funding over the next decade to expand broadband to 43,319 unserved rural Oklahoma homes.

Funds come from the Connect America Fund Phase II auction so companies bid to do the expansions in their area.

This is the third wave of support in addition to the $25.3 million authorized in May and June this year. Today’s authorization brings the total to $94.5 million. The FCC stated it will connect 51,881 homes and businesses to modern broadband.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in the coming months the FCC will be authorizing additional funding as it approves remaining applications.

“High-speed Internet provides access to opportunity in the 21st century, and the FCC’s top priority is closing the digital divide so that all Americans can fully participate in our connected society,” Pai said. “Today’s authorization of funding is the largest yet from the auction, nearly double the amount authorized in the first two rounds nationwide, and serving over twice as many rural homes and businesses. I am pleased that the Commission is moving quickly to authorize these funds to close the digital divide in rural Oklahoma and other states.”

Stephens County was won by AMG Technology Investment Group, for support over 10 years costing $330,290, which will reach 128 underserved people with the minimum download/upload speed of 100/20 Mbps.

According to the FCC, contract providers must buildout to 40 percent of the assigned homes and businesses in the areas won in a state within three years. Buildout must increase by 20 percent in each subsequent year until complete buildout is reached at the end of the sixth year.

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