FCC's Connect America Funding initiative leaves 13 states in the cold
The Federal Communications Commission released a map Thursday illustrating what states will benefit from the first phase of its Connect America Fund (CAF) and the glaring reality that the agency plan won't address 13 states.
States not getting funding include: Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
Alternatively, Wisconsin is leading the funding charge with $38 million.
Recipients of the funding, including a number of large service providers such as CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP), and Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR), have either accepted portions or all of the funding made available to them via CAF Phase I. These service providers have three years to use the funds to build out broadband services in "unserved" areas.
"As our new map demonstrates, millions of Americans still live, work, and travel in rural areas where access to high-speed Internet does not exist," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "Through the FCC's Connect America Fund initiatives, we're helping complete our nation's broadband infrastructure, which will lead to job creation, economic growth, and innovation in the 21st century. The map is the latest example of how the agency can use mapping technology to spur innovation and to develop new products for the public."
The FCC's map shows the 37 states where service providers will deploy broadband service as a result of the first phase of the Connect America Fund. In addition to breaking down how much funding each state is getting and how many counties and census blocks are being served, the FCC map shows how many people are unserved, which the FCC defines as those who can't get at least a 3 Mbps/768Kbps connection.
While the CAF Phase I program is promising, it's far from perfect with some service providers such as CenturyLink and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) opting to only take a portion of the funding due to various restrictions proposed in the initial program. Meanwhile, AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), despite being eligible to get $47.8 and $19.7 million, respectively, decided to not participate.
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