The Connect America Fund's first funding round was awarded two years ago in an effort to bring broadband service to rural Americans through fiber and DSL installation. This year, the second phase of the six year program moved forward with carriers like AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) accepting $1.5 billion to drive the effort further.
However, while the project's funding may offer the boost that carriers need to build out fiber networks, concern may be brewing over new FCC standards that mean rural Americans may not be getting their broadband after all.
In light of quickly advancing technology standards, the FCC raised the CAF-II requirements for broadband from 4/1 Mbps speed to 10/1 Mbps in an effort to keep up with quickening speeds. However, the commission quickly followed with a decision to change the definition of broadband to at least 25/3 Mbps.
What effect will that have on carriers who have already launched initiatives and accepted funding for a seemingly now subpar technology? Will this dampen efforts to reach rural areas of America, or send a message to carriers and that quality is not of importance when providing for rural Americans?
We gathered funding information and spoke to analyst Roger Entner to better understand the impact and controversy of the Connect America Fund's moves. Read more in FierceInstaller's latest special report.--Nicole