According to Fierce Telecom…
CenturyLink said that as it extends broadband services to rural areas via the FCC’s CAF-II program, it can attract a larger amount of customers that reside in 1.2 million homes with 10/1 Mbps speeds.
In 2015, CenturyLink accepted $500 million in the second phase of the FCC’s Connect America Fund (CAF-II), enabling it to deliver broadband services to about 1.2 million rural households and businesses in 33 states over the next six years.
By accepting the 33 CAF II statewide offers, CenturyLink will be able to deliver up to 10/1 Mbps to locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks that today can get at best between 1.5 to 3 Mbps speeds.
But is that good news good enough? Can you run a business with a 10/1 connection?I have three kids. Can three kids do homework with a 10/1 connection? How does that compare to their cohorts in areas that are better served?
Well rising tides lift all boats. It turns out that as the hard-to-reach areas get upgraded to 10/1, other areas will get better service too…
“There will be ancillary benefits to the build as well,” Ewing said. “As we get out to those areas, we’ll be installing fiber, which allows us to increase speeds along the way to potential customers.”
That sounds like the digital gap will remain. And while it’s great to see the increases in unserved areas, it won’t feel very fast for long, especially if the neighbors in town are in a position to get much faster speeds as part of the CAF 2 upgrade. I think of it in terms of my kids. With 10/1 they can watch a lot of video (for school and entertainment) with a faster connection, they can upload a lot of video, which is a pretty popular homework assignment at our schools.
It seems like with the expected increase in penetration that CenturyLink could consider greater investment in speeds. Or they could work with the community to form a partnership that allowed the local community to help increase the investment for higher speeds as they are doing in Sunrise Township. That is a model that I think is worth watching! I hope it goes well for both sides so that CenturyLink and other communities are open to trying it again.