HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — FiberRise Communications LLC formed an exclusive partnership with Quadra Partners LLC to assist electric co-ops in obtaining funding from the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunities Fund (RDOF) to expand high-speed broadband access.

The RDOF program will provide up to $20.4 billion in two phases to support the deployment of broadband networks in rural areas, representing the largest one-time award of Universal Service Fund (USF) support for broadband in U.S. history. At least $16 billion of Phase 1 funding will be awarded by the FCC via a reverse-auction process expected to begin later this year.

The partnership will combine FiberRise's unique expertise in utility-grade broadband network design and strong ties to rural electric co-ops throughout the country with Quadra's distinctive knowledge of FCC auctions, USF rules and procedures, and federal programs and policies supporting rural broadband deployment.

Quadra's senior team includes former leaders of the FCC's Wireless Bureau (auctions), Office of Managing Director (USF), and Office of Strategic Planning (rural deployment, including USF reform and the National Broadband Plan).

"RDOF represents a unique opportunity to fund fiber-based broadband infrastructure serving rural America, and the electric cooperatives are well-positioned to deliver on this vision," said Tommy Harmon, CEO of FiberRise. "Combining Quadra's FCC regulatory and auction expertise with FiberRise's turnkey broadband solutions will provide the best single and complete package for electric cooperatives pursuing broadband for their membership."

"RDOF offers a major opportunity for rural communities, and the recent CAF II auction shows that electric co-ops can compete and win funding," said Jon Wilkins, one of Quadra's founders. "However, the stakes for RDOF are much higher, and this auction will be much more competitive than CAF II. In order to succeed, bidders must prepare rigorously and craft smart, savvy bidding strategies grounded in a deep understanding of broadband network deployment and operations."