We are sorry to announce that we have had to cancel the upcoming Blandin Broadband Webinar on the Connect America Fund (CAF2) scheduled for June 9. Neither CenturyLink or Frontier Communications, the primary recipients of the approximately $500 million dollars of FCC funding, will provide a representative for our webinar. In addition to CenturyLink and Frontier, Windstream and Consolidated Communications have also accepted this funding.
Through CAF2, providers have six years to install broadband service in unserved rural areas. The improved network must be able to deliver a minimum of 10 Mb download and 1 Mb upload, which is less than one-half of our new Minnesota speed goal and the FCC’s own minimum broadband definition. Customers located closer to the fiber-connected electronics would receive higher speeds.
The goal of the webinar was to help unserved communities clearly understand provider plans, the “when” and “if” of when these network improvements will occur. Communities would also benefit from knowing how they might partner with these large providers to upgrade the planned network to meet the 2026 Minnesota broadband goal of 100 Mb/20 Mb or at least the 25 Mb/3 Mb 2022 goal. As we all know, the difficult economics of rural broadband deployment means and past history demonstrates that the CAF2 funded investments may be the last significant investment in these unserved areas for a generation.
You can find a map of the CAF2 eligible areas at https://www.fcc.gov/reports-research/maps/caf-2-accepted-map. Areas that are either extremely high cost or served with broadband at 3 Mb or more are ineligible for this funding.
If you are served by either of these four companies, you should contact them directly to learn more about their plans for your area. If you need help identifying the right contact for your provider, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will provide that information to you.