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FCC identifies areas for rural broadband expansion

The Federal Communications Commission will provide up to $2 billion through an auction over the next 10 years to bring high-speed internet to nearly 1 million homes and small businesses in 48 states.

The FCC's Connect America Fund Phase II auction will distribute this amount to service providers that commit "to deploy robust broadband at the lowest cost in these unserved rural areas across the country," the agency said Dec. 19.

The auction is scheduled to launch in 2018.

"Closing the digital divide is my number one priority, and through this innovative Connect America Fund auction, we are poised to take the next big step in reaching that goal," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a statement.