Tuesday, September 10, 2013

FCC Connect America Fund Phase I Round Two

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) posted an interactive map (embedded below) showing the locations where new higher-speed broadband may be deployed as the result of the second round of Connect America Phase 1 funding.

Back in 2011, the FCC launched the Connect America Fund (CAF) and it has had limited success. Round one of funding only dispensed $115 million of $300 million in available funds. I'm not sure why the FCC has had difficulty giving this money out - currently the FCC defines broadband as 768 Kbps downstream and 200 Kbps upstream. In this next round the FCC has decided to offer two levels of subsidy in the current round - $775 per location to bring broadband into underserved locations (where broadband does not exist) and an additional $550 per location (where lower speed broadband does exist) to bring broadband speeds up to 3Mbps downstream and 768 Kbps upstream.

Coverage includes over 600,000 homes and businesses in the United States and the map shows the number of homes and businesses along with the amount of subsidy ($775 or $550) for each location.

Four rural telcos are receiving most of the funds:

CenturyLink - $54 million
Frontier Communications - $72 million
AT&T - $100 million
Windstream - $124 million

Interesting that Verizon Landline (with regional sell-offs over past few years) does not appear to be a rural player any more.

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