CenturyLink Accepts $506 M from Connect America for Rural Broadband
Via FCC Headlines
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 33 States
- -- * WASHINGTON, August 27, 2015 – CenturyLink, Inc. has accepted $505,703,762 in annual, ongoing support from the Connect America Fund to expand and support broadband for over 2.3 million of its rural customers. The Connect America Fund support will enable CenturyLink to deliver broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps uploads to nearly 1.2 million homes and businesses in its rural service areas where the cost of broadband deployment might otherwise be prohibitive. “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.” Like telephone service in the 20th Century, broadband has become essential to life in the 21st Century. But, according to the FCC’s latest Broadband Progress Report, nearly one in three rural Americans lack access to 10/1 broadband, compared to only one in 100 urban Americans. The Connect America Fund is designed to close that rural-urban digital divide. The FCC’s traditional universal service program succeeded in ensuring telephone network coverage in rural America by providing subsidies where the cost of service would otherwise be prohibitive. In late 2011, the FCC modernized the program to support networks capable of providing broadband and voice services, and created the Connect America Fund to efficiently and effectively administer that support to expand broadband in rural areas where market forces alone can’t support expansion. 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. Overall, the FCC’s Universal Service Fund allocates $4.5 billion annually through various universal service programs for high-cost areas to support voice- and broadband-capable networks in rural America. Carriers receiving Connect America Fund support must build out broadband to 40 percent of
[funded locations by the end 2017, 60 percent by the end of 2018, 80 percent by the end of 2019, and 100 percent by the end of 2020.
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