No large service provider, cable or telco, applied for the broadband stimulus program in round one, citing onerous rules and requirements. We may see a different approach in round two.

Qwest may be eyeing the program. “The good news is that they seem to have heard us in Washington, D.C.,” Chuck Ward, Qwest’s Colorado president tells the Denver Business Journal. “It almost gets us able to apply.” That would be an interesting turn of events.

Of all the former Bell companies, Qwest makes the most sense for rural broadband stimulus funding. They serve vast rural territory in their footprint, and unlike Verizon, don’t seem eager to try to sell it off (at least not yet). I’m sure there are many portions of their rural footprint that are in desperate need of broadband improvement.

Qwest could probably make the case for both middle and last mile broadband funding. If they decide the program now looks attractive, I suspect they could apply for some substantial dollars.

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