I have been tracking the situation with LTD and RDOF since the beginning. Here’s a succinct update…
LTD Broadband was awarded the sole opportunity apply for funding to expand fiber in much of Minnesota. The opportunity has been controversial. Some question their ability to fulfill the order, should they get it. To that end, Minnesota industry associations are asking the MN PUC to revoke the ETC status for LTD Broadband. In fact, the PUC has that issue on their agenda for a meeting scheduled for Thursday (July 14) a1 10am. People are invited to attend in person or remotely.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune article outlines the whole ordeal if you want more detail; here’s a portion I found interesting…
Winning [RDOF] bidders were chosen on their promises of low costs and high internet speeds. The companies were given three years to meet build-out benchmarks and three more years to complete their projects.
But federal subsidies cover only a portion of a fiber project’s costs, and LTD has been awarded grants to cover 528,000 U.S. locations — 102,000 in Minnesota alone. It would be a massive broadband buildout.
In comments to the state PUC, four Minnesota counties that would host LTD’s projects — LeSueur, Pine, Jackson and Chippewa — were skeptical of the company’s abilities to follow through, as was the Minnesota Association of Townships.
“LTD’s unproven track record causes us considerable concern that they will be able to provide broadband services to the the areas they were awarded,” Jackson County Administrator Ryan Krosch said in a PUC filing.
Counties also faulted LTD for a lack of a communication.
“Chippewa County representatives have attempted to contact LTD on several occasions to collaborate and request updates on their progress,” County Auditor Michelle May said in comments to the PUC. “Those attempts have failed” and the county has “lost faith” in LTD, she said.
Hauer said he has personally met with county officials across the country.
“The question from counties is always ‘when,’ and, of course, the answer is ‘as soon as possible.’ We want to do it as quickly as we can,” he said.