Feature Article

September 01, 2015

10 Carriers to Get a Combined $1.5B from FCC's Rural Broadband Fund

Last week may have marked a turning point for the country’s rural populace seeking broadband services. The FCC on Thursday announced that 10 major carriers – including AT&T and Verizon – accepted more than $1.5 billion in annual support from the Connect America program to bring broadband to about 7.3 million U.S. rural consumers.

“This is great news for these rural communities, where broadband can spark economic development, support education, and provide residents with access to the news, information and cutting-edge Internet applications that are a fact of life in most other parts of the country,” Carol Mattey, deputy chief of the FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau wrote in an Aug. 28 blog. “The funding that will flow to these areas will go a long way toward closing the digital divide isolating rural America. And it builds on past Commission decisions that used Phase I Connect America funding to expand broadband to over 637,000 homes and businesses.”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler commented: “AT&T’s acceptance of close to one-half billion dollars annually from the Connect America Fund represents a huge investment in broadband for its rural customers. This is one of the largest amounts accepted by any company. The financial support provided by American ratepayers will bring significant benefits to AT&T’s rural communities, and we urge state and local leaders to help communities realize these benefits by facilitating the broadband buildout.”

Thursday was the deadline for large telcos to decide whether to accept Phase II funds from the FCC’s Connect America Fund. Here’s the breakdown of who is getting what in this scenario.

Price Cap Carrier

Homes & Businesses Served

Support Amount in Dollars

Carrier Subtotal

                         3,629,996

$1,500,895,507

AT&T

                         1,117,806

$427,706,650

Cincinnati Bell

                               7,084

$2,229,130

CenturyLink

                         1,174,142

$505,702,762

Consolidated

                             24,698

$13,922,480

Fairpoint

                            105,220

$37,430,669

Frontier

                            659,587

$283,401,855

Hawaiian Telcom

                             11,081

$4,424,319

Micronesian Telecom

                             11,143

$2,627,177

Verizon*

                            114,610

$48,554,986

Windstream

                            404,625

$174,895,478




Edited by Maurice Nagle


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