As the application window of the second round of the broadband stimulus program closes, news is trickling out about the applicants. We already reported on Qwest’s $350 million bid and TDS’ 46 broadband stimulus applications. Now comes word that Windstream applied for $238 million in broadband stimulus funds.
Windstream applied to the RUS BIP program and will add $80 million of its own money, bringing the total funding of the rural broadband expansion project to $318 million.
“Windstream has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to deploy broadband services to virtually every community in our network and now serves more than 1.1 million high-speed Internet customers,” said Mike Rhoda, senior vice president of government affairs for Windstream in a press release. “But the costs to deploy broadband to the vast majority of our remaining, unserved customers are prohibitive. The federal grants offered by RUS cover up to 75 percent of the costs and greatly improve the economics for deploying broadband deeper into rural America. The grants create opportunities for further broadband deployment that otherwise would not exist.”
Windstream says the funding would make broadband available to 93% of its customers, up from the current 89%. Broadband speeds for the stimulus projects would range from 6 Mbps to 12 Mbps for an additional 500,000 homes and 80,000 businesses. The project would help pay for 7,000 additional miles of fiber and would affect approximately 320 exchanges in their footprint.