Windstream issued a press release highlighting its plans for using $147 million in funding that the company won for the state of Georgia in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction. Georgia is one of multiple states for which Windstream won a total of $523 million in funding and was second after Pennsylvania in RDOF funding won.
The RDOF auction awarded funding to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to unserved rural areas. A Windstream press release notes that the company has filed a long-form application for Georgia. FCC data shows the company has submitted applications for other states as well.
The Georgia application shows that Windstream plans to provide FTTH service to more than 48,000 locations.
Windstream noted that it has invested more than $525 million in Georgia during the past six years. It currently has deployed gigabit speeds to 150,000 households in the state – with 100,000 of those getting service in 2020.
“Partnerships are the key to deploying high-speed broadband in high-cost rural areas,” Michael Foor, Windstream’s vice president of state government affairs in Georgia, said in a press release about Windstream Georgia RDOF plans. “That’s why Windstream has partnered with Colquitt EMC, Chattooga County, Allentown and others in the last year. We have ongoing discussions with additional community leaders and EMC’s and are actively seeking additional partnerships to accelerate fiber deployment and the related benefits for our communities.”
Windstream may have issued the press release about Georgia because it wanted to highlight those partnerships, which Telecompetitor covered last year.
Windstream, which emerged from bankruptcy last September with more than $2 billion ready for network investment, released an update in mid-January. The company said that during 2020 it had a net gain of 60,000 broadband customers and has gigabit service available to 589,000 locations.
During 2020, the company made gigabit service available to 70,000 in Georgia and opened a customer care center in Moultrie.
Joan Engebretson contributed to this report.