CenturyLink To Accept FCC Connect America Funds
CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced that it will accept $35 million from the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund (CAF) to deploy broadband service to 45,000 homes in unserved rural areas.
CenturyLink was eligible for nearly $90 million in CAF Phase I funding. However, restrictions on the use of the CAF 1 funds made further deployment uneconomic.
“CenturyLink is excited to be able to work with the FCC to bring broadband services to thousands of homes for the first time. In addition to the incremental CAF funding, we are investing millions of dollars of our own money to bring robust broadband services to more customers because we believe these services will bring essential educational and economic opportunities to high-cost, rural areas of the country,” said Steve Davis, CenturyLink executive vice president for public policy and government relations.
“We are disappointed that restrictions on the use of these funds will not allow us to deploy rural broadband services to the extent we had originally anticipated,” Davis said. “However, we share the FCC’s overall goal of deploying needed facilities in high-cost areas where reliable and affordable broadband service is not available. Therefore, we will continue working with the FCC to find ways to efficiently and effectively use additional CAF 1 funds to provide broadband services to our rural customers.”
CenturyLink has filed a waiver application which, if granted, would allow it to deploy broadband services to approximately 60,000 more homes in high-cost areas where reliable and affordable service is currently not available. This waiver has been supported by the Washington Public Service Commission, the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other state agencies.