LTD Broadband Challenges FCC Denial of RDOF Funds in Court

In its petition to the court, LTD asserts that the FCC's denial of RDOF funds is unlawful and should be set aside.

LTD Broadband Challenges FCC Denial of RDOF Funds in Court
Photo of U.S. Court of Appeals by Tony Webster used with permission.

WASHINGTON, February 20, 2024 – LTD Broadband has filed a petition for review of the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to deny it funding as part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund. 

The company, which largely offers fixed wireless broadband, filed a request for judicial review with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on February 2, contesting the agency decision on December 4. 

FCC Proposes $22 Million Fine Against LTD Over RDOF
The company was one of the biggest to default on the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction.

In its petition to the appeals court, LTD asserts that the FCC's denial of RDOF funds is arbitrary and capricious and should be set aside. The statement of issues from LTD is expected to be submitted by March 8, outlining more specific legal arguments, according to the court docket

The action follows a series of events stemming from the FCC's proposal for a $21.7-million fine against LTD for defaulting on its bids in the RDOF broadband subsidy program. Under this program, broadband providers competed with bids to serve unconnected areas using the least amount of government money.

LTD was initially the largest winner in the FCC’s 2020 RDOF auction, securing over $1.3 billion in planned support over a decade from the $9.2-billion program. However, in August 2022, the FCC rescinded LTD's award, citing failure to meet eligibility requirements in several states and doubts about the company's ability to deliver high-speed internet to the designated areas.

In March 2023, the owners of LTD created a separate entity, GigFire, which operates under a services agreement with LTD.

Despite seeking and receiving eligible telecommunications carrier designation in eight states, LTD faced challenges in meeting requirements in the remaining seven states where it had winning bids. The FCC denied LTD's request for waiver of the ETC certification deadline for several states, leading to the company defaulting on bids in Kansas, Oklahoma, California, and Iowa.

LTD subsequently sought reconsideration of the waiver denials but later withdrew its petition for reconsideration in California and Iowa, resulting in default on all bids in those states.

LTD faces the most substantial fine to date, with the commission also proposing an additional $13 million in fines against 95 other RDOF bidders who defaulted.


A previous version of this story stated that LTD was now known as GigFire. In fact, LTD and GigFire both still exist. Beginning in March 2023, the owners of LTD created GigFire as a separate entity. Although some former LTD customers continue to be served by LTD, more are now served by the new entity, GigFire, under a services agreement between the two entities. The former LTD website redirects visitors to the current GigFire website with the statement, "LTD Broadband has become GigFire," which is, technically speaking, not correct. The story has been clarified.

Additionally, a previous version of this story referred incorrectly to the court in which the action was filed. It was the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, rather than the D.C. Court of Appeals. The story has been corrected.

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