AT&T has joined fellow Tier 1 telco CenturyLink, Consolidated Communications and others in accepting $427 million annually in phase two of the FCC Connect America Fund (CAF-II) program, allowing it reach 2.2 million rural locations in 18 of the 21 states in its operating territory with broadband services.
Consolidated Communications is seeing the fruits of its ongoing transformation from another Tier 2 provider of voice to a next-gen IP service provider, with a senior executive saying that 80 percent of its revenue comes from broadband and business services.
The FCC has approved four Connect America Fund projects that will receive $11.2 million in funding to deliver broadband services to thousands of consumers in rural areas in five states. The funding is a small component of an overall offering of nearly $1.7 billion that has been paid to carriers as part of the Connect America initiative.
Consolidated Communications may be an advocate of fiber-based 1 Gbps broadband, but in the near-term it continues to see rapid subscriber uptake for existing speed tiers, particularly 100 Mbps.
Consolidated will now begin doing business in the markets it entered through its acquisition of Enventis, an independent telco formerly known HickoryTech, under the Consolidated Communications brand.
A 1 Gbps FTTH service may be enticing in terms of the nearly ubiquitous speed it provides, but it's hardly a fit for most consumers. Instead, a number of ILECs--including CenturyLink, Consolidated and TDS Telecom--are finding that their 1 Gbps buildouts are creating a broadband "halo effect."
Consolidated Communications is moving ahead with its 1 Gbps FTTH expansion effort, announcing that it launched the service for residents across its existing fiber network in the Houston area market.
Consolidated Communications may still be into its two-year integration of Enventis, but the service provider is not going to rule out other deals if they could provide complementary footprint or reach that would enhance its business and wholesale service capabilities.
Consolidated Communications is aware that Google Fiber is a formidable broadband service provider, including the markets where it also offers 1 Gbps broadband, but the century-old telco says that what differentiates them from their new competitor is customer service.
He who has more fiber wins. In other words, the service provider that has a fiber-rich network is more competitive in the business and wholesale services race. In our new feature From AT&T to Fatbeam: The top 10 (and more) biggest providers of fiber in the U.S., FierceTelecom looks at who has the most connected fiber.