CenturyLink's CAF-I broadband project to bring 40 Mbps to rural Roanoke Valley, N.C., customers

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CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is giving customers in North Carolina's Halifax and Northampton counties up to 40 Mbps of broadband bandwidth thanks to an FCC Federal Communications Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase 1 grant.

The service provider accepted about $880,000 in CAF funds in 2013 to extend broadband service to high-cost, rural areas in North Carolina, which it is matching with its own capital investments.

About $275,000 in CAF funds will be applied to projects in the Roanoke Valley, and additional expansions will be announced this summer.

It will build out necessary facilities in four areas: Hollister community; Big John Store Road area north of Garysburg; the community around the intersection of Heathsville and Ringwood Road in Enfield; and community near Highway 481 and Green Star Road in Enfield.

Rondi Furgason, CenturyLink vice president and general manager for central and eastern North Carolina, said the CAF grant will enable it "to bring broadband to more than 250 local homes and businesses, where high-speed Internet service would not be economically feasible without public-private programs like the FCC's Connect America Fund."

CAF grants have become a key weapon in CenturyLink's rural broadband drive.

In 2013, CenturyLink accepted a total of $54 million from the FCC's Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase I funds in order to extend broadband services to more than 92,000 homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas of its service footprint.

Although CenturyLink was eligible to get $90 million in CAF funds, it only accepted $35 million in the initial 2012 round because it said that the FCC's rules made it uneconomic to bring broadband to other areas.

For more:
- see the release

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