Windstream Communications has accepted a federal fund to expand broadband into rural areas.
As part of the Connect America program, Windstream will receive $174,895,478 annually over the next seven years to expand and support broadband for over 800,000 of its rural customers in 17 states.
In a press release, the FCC said that the funds will enable Windstream to deliver broadband at speeds of at least 10 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps uploads to over 404,000 homes and businesses in its rural service areas nationwide where the cost of broadband deployment might otherwise be prohibitive.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler called Windstream’s decision to accept the funds a great benefit to its rural customers.
“The Connect America Fund is delivering on its promise of ensuring that all Americans have access to the opportunities provided by modern broadband service, no matter where they live,” Wheeler said in a statement.
Windstream President and CEO Tony Thomas said in a press release that his company has made significant strides in expanding and improving its broadband capabilities in its rural service areas, through its own investments and universal service and stimulus funds.
Under the rules for Connect America Fund Phase II, state-by-state support levels were generated using a new FCC cost model. Companies may accept the funding and related service obligations for its service area in each state. If a company declines an offer for a state, funding will be subject to a competitive process in which any eligible provider can bid to serve all or part of the area. Windstream has declined the statewide offer for New Mexico.
“We remain focused on providing affordable broadband service to consumers throughout our New Mexico service area,” Thomas said. “But the statewide offer would not enable us to meet the program’s obligations.” The company will instead participate in the upcoming bidding process to compete for support in the state.