The state of Florida has awarded $144 million in broadband grants through its Broadband Opportunity Program. A large portion of that funding – approximately $89 million – will go to the nation’s three largest cable companies Comcast, Charter and Cox.
Comcast won the most funding in the program, a total of approximately $45 million. Charter was awarded approximately $28 million, and Cox was awarded approximately $16 million.
Comcast won funding for 23 projects, including 16 where the company will deploy symmetrical gigabit service, one where it will deploy 100 Mbps symmetrical service and six where it will deploy service at speeds of 50 Mbps downstream and 10 Mbps upstream.
Charter won funding for 15 projects, all of which call for 300/10 Mbps service.
Cox won funding for six projects, including two slated for 1 Gbps symmetrical service and four slated for 100/100 Mbps service.
AT&T, Electric Cooperatives and Other Winners
Other companies awarded funding were AT&T, which will get $2 million to deploy a single symmetrical gigabit project, and CenturyLink/Lumen, which will get $63,000 for a single 200/200 Mbps project.
Also among the awardees were electric cooperatives and others. Most of the projects referenced wireline infrastructure but at least one project will use fixed wireless.
The Florida awards were announced in a press release issued last week, but that release did not specify which network operators would deploy service. Instead, the release focused on how much funding was awarded for individual cities and counties. Telecompetitor obtained further details from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
According to last week’s release, the awards were the first made in the Broadband Opportunity Grant Program. They will “impact” nearly 160,000 unserved residential, educational, business and community locations.
Cable companies traditionally didn’t participate in government funding programs, but that changed when Charter succeeded in winning over a billion dollars from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program. Since then we have seen Charter and other cable companies winning funding through various state broadband programs.
Many of the state-level programs were federally funded. Each state received funding in the American Rescue Plan Act that could be used for a variety of purposes, including broadband.
The states are poised to receive more funding, in this case specifically for broadband, through the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.