AT&T, CenturyLink accept more than $900 million in CAF money

AT&T and CenturyLink have accepted $428 million and $505.7 million, respectively, over the next six years from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF). The money will help the carriers expand 10/1 Mbps broadband service to a combined 3.4 million homes and businesses in rural locations across 36 states.

 

“CenturyLink’s acceptance of over one-half billion dollars from the Connect America Fund represents a huge investment in broadband for its rural customers,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “This is the largest amount accepted by any company to date – and the opportunities that modern broadband will provide for the rural communities CenturyLink serves are priceless.”

 

“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,” Wheeler said.

 

The Connect America Fund subsidizes the expansion of high-speed Internet to rural areas, “where market forces alone can’t support expansion.” Carriers that accept CAF funding must expand broadband to 100% in funded locations by the end of 2020.

 

FairPoint accepted $37.4 million from CAF last week, and Windstream Communications accepted $175 million the week before. Frontier Communications accepted $283 million in June. In total carriers accepted over $1.5 billion in annual support – 88% of the support offered – in Connect America funding to expand broadband to nearly 7.3 million rural customers in 45 states and one territory. Carriers had to decide by August 27 whether to accept the CAF subsidies with obligations for rural broadband build-out on a statewide basis.

 

“Today we are taking a significant step forward in narrowing the rural-urban digital divide,” said Wheeler on the success of the program. “Access to modern broadband is critical to life in today’s society. The financial support provided by American ratepayers through the Connect America program is an investment in the future of our rural communities that will pay dividends for all Americans for years to come.”

 

Verizon was the only major telecommunications company to not accept the money, walking away from more than $565 million in Federal broadband funding and leaving many residents in eight states and the District of Columbia without access to vital communications options.

 

AT&T Accepts Nearly $428 Million in Annual Support from Connect America Fund to Expand and Support Broadband for Over 2.2 Million Rural Consumers in 18 States (FCC, Aug. 27, 2015)

 

CenturyLink Accepts Nearly $506 Million in Annual Support from Connect America Fund to Expand and Support Broadband for Over 2.3 Million Consumers in 22 States (FCC, Aug. 27, 2015)

 

FairPoint accepts $37.4 million per year in Connect America funding (Speed Matters, Aug. 20, 2015)

 

Windstream Takes $175M in Connect America Offer to Expand Rural Broadband (FCC, Aug. 5, 2015)

 

Frontier Communications Accepts Over $283 Million Connect America Fund Offer to Expand and Support Broadband for 1.3 Million Rural Americans (FCC, June 16, 2015)

 

FCC’s Connect America II offers $1.7B to expand rural broadband service (Speed Matters, Apr. 30, 2015)

 

Carriers Accept Over $1.5 Billion in Annual Support from Connect America Fund to Expand and Support Broadband for Nearly 7.3 Million Rural Consumers in 45 States and One Territory (FCC, Aug. 27, 2015)

 

Verizon Walks Away from $550M+ in Federal Broadband Money (Speed Matters, Aug. 27, 2015)