Behold. A telecommunications company taking federal funding to invest in rural broadband. It’s almost as though rural Americans might want to have access to the internet despite committing a cardinal telecommunications sin, and living outside of a large urban area.
Windstream Communications has taken a $175 million grant from the Connect America Fund to build out rural broadband networks across 17 states.
According to the FCC, the money will help to make high-speed broadband access available to as many as 800,000 subscribers.
Under the terms of the deal, Windstream will need to provide broadband that comes in at speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps uploads. The Windstream service will be made available to residents living primarily in Southern states along with a few in the MidWest. The company declined the offer for the state of New Mexico.
“We remain focused on providing affordable broadband service to consumers throughout our New Mexico service area,” Tony Thomas, Windstream’s President and CEO said. “But the statewide offer would not enable us to meet the program’s obligations.” The company will instead participate in the upcoming bidding process to compete for support in the state.
Windstream has already received over $87 million in Connect America Funds for work completed through Phase 1 of the project.
Over the next six years, Phase II of Connect America will provide more than $10 billion to expand broadband-capable networks throughout rural America nationwide, all without increasing the cost of the program to ratepayers.
In addition to Windstream, Frontier Communications Inc. has also accepted Phase II funding, which will expand service to 1.3 million Frontier customers in 28 states.