Charter Headquarters Office

Charter has now won $700 million in broadband funding since its big win in the 2018 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, said Jessica Fischer, the company’s chief financial officer, on today’s second quarter earnings call.

The $700 million in funding that Charter has won since RDOF will go toward buildouts to 300,000 locations, Fischer said.

Back in May, Charter said it had won funding for more than 260,000 locations since RDOF, indicating that the company has won funding for about 40,000 locations since May.

The gross cost of the buildouts for which Charter has won funding will be $1.7 billion, which suggests that Charter will contribute matching funds of about $1 billion for the builds.

Jessica Fischer, Charter CFO
Jessica Fischer, Charter CFO

The buildout cost per passing to Charter will be $3,200, Fischer said.

The company completed 68,000 subsidized rural passings this quarter, she noted.

Rural buildouts have been a big initiative for Charter since the company was required to make service available to 185,000 rural locations in upstate New York as a condition of regulatory approval for its acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

The company was so happy with the results of that buildout that it was a big bidder in the RDOF auction, ultimately winning about $1 billion in funding through the program, to which it said it would contribute an additional $4 billion.

The first company to bring high-speed broadband to a rural area typically gains a high market share, and in Charter’s case, the company also gains video customers.

Charter likely will be winning more funding moving forward, as many states have ARPA funding they have not yet awarded, and as the states are expected to begin making awards in the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program next year.

Charter CEO Chris Winfrey has said previously that he believes Charter’s BEAD chances to be very good. A replay of Charter’s earnings call is available at this link.

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