CenturyLink says it has provided broadband to more than 600,000 homes and small businesses across rural America during the last two years in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF) program.
In August 2015, CenturyLink said it would bring download speeds of at least 10 Mbps to about 1.2 million high-cost locations in 33 states over six years. To date, it has provided more than half (51 percent) of those locations with broadband and nearly 70 percent have speeds of 20 Mbps or higher.
CenturyLink is on track to meet 60 percent of its CAF commitments by the end of this year.
“CenturyLink is making significant investments to bring broadband to more homes and businesses in our various markets,” said John Jones, CenturyLink’s senior vice president of public policy and government relations. “Many rural schools, libraries, hospitals and public safety agencies are now benefiting from our broadband upgrades and investment thanks to the Connect America Fund. While building broadband infrastructure in rural areas is difficult, we have focused on bringing broadband to as many consumers as possible as quickly as possible.”
CAF is preparing to distribute as much as $2 billion in support to companies that successfully compete in a CAF II auction to deploy broadband at the lowest cost in unserved rural areas across the country.
The FCC in 2015 authorized 10 telecom carriers – including CenturyLink, Frontier Communications and FairPoint – to receive nearly $9 billion in CAF II funding over six years. Combined with the carriers’ own investments, the funding was to expand broadband to nearly 7.3 million rural customers in 45 states and one U.S. territory.