It’s been well documented that the largest of the nation’s telecom carriers sat out round one of the broadband stimulus program, citing onerous rules and regulations. Apparently, round two of the program is quite a different story, at least for Qwest. They’ve applied for $350 million in broadband stimulus funding.
Qwest is applying for a grant from the RUS’s BIP program, and intends to add $117 million in private investment, pushing the project’s total to $467 million. Qwest says the grant will fund rural broadband infrastructure “to serve more than half a million homes, schools, businesses and hospitals that lack access to today’s high-speed Internet capabilities. It plans to introduce the service at download speeds of 12 to 40 Mbps.”
Of all the former ‘baby bells,’ Qwest is probably most suited for the mission of the broadband stimulus program, given the vast rural territory within their 14 state footprint. Qwest didn’t specify where this funding would be applied. It makes for an interesting debate at RUS. I may be wrong, but I don’t think Qwest fits the profile of a typical RUS borrower. Should Qwest’s grant proposal be approved?
6 thoughts on “Qwest Seeks $350 Million in Broadband Stimulus Funding, Promises Rural Investment”
Depends on who you ask. A poor, pitiful customer being served by Qwest in one of their rural territories would be a huge advocate for this Qwest grant. But I'm sure there are those who question why a Fortune 500 company needs a government grant to subsdize their core business.
12-40 Mbps sounds like VDSL2 service. Wonder where they'd deploy if they got the money?
Additionally, more than half a million folks served means that the average cost per customer on this project is nearly $1000, with aorund $700 per customer coming from RUS funds. Is it just me, or does that sound a bit high for VDSL2 deployment? Granted, fiber costs about double that depending on volume but still…
Don't get me wrong. I'd like to see VDSL here, a stone's throw away from Denver. Would put some competitive pressure on Comcast to provide lower rates (their service quality is excellent, but residential internet rates are rather high). However I'm unsure whether Qwest really needs that much government money to bail out its system.
It would be easier to justify their applications for tax dollars if they would stop spending so much to prevent communities from building their own fiber-optic networks. Qwest thrives on federal dollars one way and another and then suggests "government" shouldn't get involved in broadband.
I hope BIP doesn't waste money on DSL – they have done a decent job of this thus far – perhaps the only thing they have have done consistently well in the broadband stimulus projects.