Windstream Corp. on Wednesday announced commencing construction of its first broadband stimulus project near Stilwell, Okla., thanks partly to a federal $2.3 million grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Such federal grants give Windstream and other telecommunications providers incentives to expand high-speed Internet connections to rural and remote areas where infrastructure costs are generally high. Windstream said it is contributing $760,000 in capital to the project, which entails upgrading its network with roughly 56 miles of fiber-optic cable and electronic equipment.
“This project will expand our broadband network in the Stilwell area and make a high-speed Internet connection available to approximately 1,360 potential customers," said Scott Kuck, Windstream’s local manager, in a statement.
The Little Rock, Ark.-based telecommunications company anticipates completing construction of the project in mid-March and making the service available to customers in late June.
Windstream asserted that nationally it was the largest recipient of broadband stimulus grants awarded on a competitive basis by the Rural Utilities Service, the agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In total, the company said it received $181.3 million for projects in 13 states, reflecting 75 percent of the cost of installing broadband infrastructure in those areas.
The other states are Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.
Scott Morris, a Windstream spokesperson, said all of the stimulus work will be completed by the deadline established under the terms of the grant program: June 30, 2015.