Thanks to Bill Coleman for the heads up on Frontier’s decision to sign up for Connect America Funds (CAF). Telecompetitor reports…
Frontier Communications may go down in history as the first communications service provider to receive support from the new broadband-focused Connect America Fund. The company today became the first large price cap carrier to agree to bring broadband to customers in its service territory that currently cannot get broadband service, in exchange for receiving $775 per line in support from the new Connect America Fund to help cover a portion of total deployment costs. Importantly, Frontier agreed to accept the funding for every unserved line in its territory – a decision some other price cap carriers have hinted they may not make.
Back in April, the FCC said it would target $71,979,104 to Frontier if the carrier agreed to bring broadband to unserved areas within its territory by certain target dates. The carrier said today it plans to accept the full amount, which will bring service to 92,876 new households.
Many providers have voiced hesitation in CAF because $775
And thanks to Andy Schriner for the heads up on similar action from CenturyLink…
CenturyLink to accept FCC Connect America Funds: Company committed to deploying broadband in Minnesota
MINNEAPOLIS – CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced today that it will accept $35 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund (CAF) to deploy broadband service to 45,000 homes in unserved rural areas in multiple states. In Minnesota, the company will receive nearly $11 million in CAF Phase I funding to bring broadband service to more than 14,000 homes.
“As a member of Governor Dayton’s Task Force on Broadband, I know the impact this investment will have on Minnesota’s broadband future,” said Duane Ring, CenturyLink’s president for the Midwest Region. “CenturyLink has made significant investments in the state, but we still face deployment challenges in some of our unserved, high-cost to build areas.”
CenturyLink was eligible for nearly $90 million in CAF Phase I funding. However, restrictions on the use of the CAF 1 funds made further deployment not economical. CenturyLink has filed a waiver application which, if granted, would allow it to deploy broadband services to approximately 60,000 more homes nationally in high-cost areas where reliable and affordable service is currently not available.
“If the FCC grants our waiver, we will be able to invest potentially $18 million, over the next three years, helping Minnesota reach its broadband goals and bring service to more than 24,000 locations in rural Minnesota,” said Ring. “This investment reflects not only federal support, but also a significant matching investment from CenturyLink for unserved markets in Minnesota.”
“We are disappointed that restrictions on the use of these funds will not allow us to deploy rural broadband services to the extent we had originally anticipated,” said Steve Davis, CenturyLink executive vice president for public policy and government relations. “However, we share the FCC’s overall goal of deploying needed facilities in high-cost areas where reliable and affordable broadband service is not available. Therefore, we will continue working with the FCC to find ways to efficiently and effectively use additional CAF 1 funds to provide broadband services to our rural customers.”
CenturyLink’s waiver application is currently supported by the Washington Public Service Commission, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other state agencies.