CenturyLink said today that it will accept approximately $500 million annually from the FCC’s Connect America Fund to cover some of the cost of bringing broadband to parts of the company’s local service territory that can’t get broadband today or only have low-speed broadband available. Also today Consolidated Communications said it will accept approximately $14 million annually in CAF funding. The companies will receive the funding for six years.
Consolidated accepted all of the funding it was offered. CenturyLink accepted the vast majority of its funding, but declined funding for some states.
Consolidated, CenturyLink Accept CAF
CenturyLink was offered $514 million for the 37 states in which it operates. But the company declined funding for California, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Consolidated operates as an ILEC in seven states and it accepted all of the funding it was offered for those states. Carriers were only offered funding for states in which they are an incumbent local carrier.
Connect America funding was calculated based on a cost model developed by the FCC. Carriers must accept or decline funding on a state-by-state basis. In states for which the incumbent local carrier rejected funding, the FCC plans to award funding through a competitive bidding process. Incumbents will have the opportunity to bid – and unlike with the initial offer, they will not have to pledge to deliver service throughout their entire territory in a state but instead will be able to bid on smaller areas.
Several other carriers already have announced their CAF funding decisions, including Frontier, Windstream, Hawaiian Telcom and FairPoint – all of whom accepted all or most of their funding.
The nation’s two largest carriers – AT&T and Verizon – have not yet announced their CAF plans.