Using a Map of Communities Receiving Connect America Funds, FCC Uses Rigorous Approach to Targeting Broadband SubsidiesBroadband Stimulus, Broadband's Impact, FCC, Universal Service September 6th, 2013
Drew Clark, Publisher, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, September 6, 2013 – The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday released a map demonstrating the location of more than 600,000 homes and business targeted to receive higher-speed broadband connections.
The map, dubbed the “Connect America Fund, Phase I, Round 2,” follows on the FCC’s announcement, on August 21, 2013, that eight telecommunications providers are scheduled to receive up to $386 million in funds in order to build more robust broadband connections to 606,161 locations.
This is the second round of the Connect America Fund (CAF), launched in 2011 by the FCC with the goal of making broadband more universally available across the country.
But the first round of CAF funding didn’t go as planned: only $115 million of $300 million in funds available was dispensed.
To help enhance the success of the second round, the FCC announced in May that it would also seek to elevate the speeds of broadband connections, in addition to bringing broadband to unserved areas. The agency currently defines broadband as 768 kilobits per second (kbps) download, and 200 kbps upload.
As a result, the FCC is offering two levels of subsidy: $775 per location in order to bring high speed internet to currently unserved areas. Additionally, the agency will provide $550 per location in order to up broadband speeds to the agency’s more robust level of 3 Megabits per second (Mbps) download, and 768 kbps upload.
The map released on Thursday shows the number of business or residential connections, and the amount of subsidy — $775 or $550 per location — that each carrier is targeted to receive.
The four carriers that are targeted to receive the greatest subisidies in this round of the Connect America Fund are: Windstream, at $124 million; AT&T, at $100 million; Frontier Communications, at $72 million; and CenturyLink, at $54 million.
|ACS||AT&T†||CenturyLink||FairPoint||Frontier†||Hawaiian†||PRTC||Windstream||Total Dollar Support|
|* – Some of the carrier acceptances are contingent upon carriers prevailing in challenges regarding whether certain census blocks are unserved. Furthermore, after providing the Commission with notice, carriers have the ability to alter deployment plans to other unserved census blocks, which could result in more or less funding being allocated to any given state.|
|† – Carrier did not provide locations by census block, so these figures are estimated by assuming each block has an equal number of locations to be served.|
|‡ – Due to calculations and rounding, individual states do not exactly sum to total.|
The map displays the location of awards to individual carriers on a Census block-by-Census block basis — the same unit of measurement deployed in the National Broadband Map created by the FCC, the Commerce Department, and its partnering State Broadband Initiative entities.
An equally significant aspect of this phase of the Connect America Fund is that several of the providers that are set to receive the greatest subsidy — including CenturyLink, Frontier and Windstream — have promised to leverage the subsidy “it accepts in 2013 with an equal investment of its own capital to extend broadband to unserved locations.”
“We make this commitment because we believe that access to high-speed broadband has become an indispensable platform for economic growth and job creation, and for addressing major national challenges like education, health care, energy and public safety,” the CEOs of the three companies wrote in an April 2013 letter to Julius Genachowski, the former chairman of the FCC.
“The FCC’s new map will provide welcome news to millions of rural Americans who have been waiting far too long for broadband access,” Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn said of Thursday’s map. “Thanks to the latest round of Connect America funding, rural counties in every corner of the nation will get access to broadband for the first time.”