Frontier said today that it has deployed broadband to 40% of the locations in nine states for which the company accepted Connect America Fund (CAF) dollars, putting the company ahead of schedule in meeting CAF buildout requirements. Those requirements call for the 40% milestone to be reached by the end of 2017, Frontier noted.
The nine states that Frontier references in today’s press release are Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington and West Virginia. The deployments reach approximately 238,000 households and small businesses, the company said.
Frontier also noted that it has improved speeds to approximately 746,000 additional locations – highlighting another benefit of the CAF program. With the CAF program covering the costs of bringing broadband to parts of a community lacking broadband service, network operators may be able to use some of the infrastructure supporting those deployments to also support network upgrades in adjacent areas.
It’s worth noting that, according to today’s press release, “deployments reflect a combination of Frontier capital investment and resources that the FCC has made available through the CAF program.” Previously a Frontier exec said CAF funding would cover all deployment costs entailed in meeting CAF buildout requirements, so the reference to “Frontier capital investment” apparently applies to the additional 746,000 locations.
Newly served or upgraded areas can now get service at speeds as fast as 115 Mbps, depending on the distance from Frontier’s nearest facilities, the company said, also noting that many newly served locations now receive speeds of 25 Mbps or faster.
CAF buildout requirements call for speeds of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps except in higher-cost areas, where the requirement is just 10/1 Mbps.
CAF Buildout Requirements
In 2015, Frontier agreed to accept the entire $283 million annually it was offered by the FCC in the CAF Phase II program. The funding was earmarked to go toward deploying broadband to more than 1.3 million locations in Frontier’s local service territory in 28 states.
Subsequently the company gained an additional $48.5 million in annual CAF funding when it acquired local service assets in three states from Verizon. Verizon had accepted the funding on Frontier’s behalf to bring broadband service to two of the three states that changed hands.
Frontier must do more deployments this year to meet overall CAF buildout requirements beyond the initial nine states where the company already has met the 40% benchmark. But considering that the year is only half over, the company would appear to be making good progress.