Frontier's Abernathy: We can meet the FCC's aggressive CAF-II timeline

Frontier Communications acknowledges that while there are clearly going to be challenges in meeting the FCC's new requirement to deliver 10 Mbps of broadband service in rural areas under Phase II of the Connect America Fund (CAF), the service provider is confident it can meet the challenge.

"There's no question that it's an aggressive timeline," said Kathleen Quinn Abernathy, executive vice president, External Affairs for Frontier, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We have spoken to our engineering team about the proposal and the plans and we feel like it's challenging, but in many of our markets we'll be able to do it."

Frontier's fellow telcos CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream have said that they have concerns about meeting the timeline because the 10 Mbps goal means they have to overcome a number of challenges in terms of getting necessary resources.

Abernathy said that while she recognizes their concerns, the way service providers will approach the use of CAF-II funds will differ due to the specific geographies they all serve.

"For us, a lot of it has to do with our geography versus the geography of a CenturyLink or Windstream, which is why it's a company-by-company and a state-by-state decision," Abernathy said. "What works for one company might not work for another and the FCC is building a framework that will incent investments across all markets, but they are all very different."

Frontier has been able to use the $71.9 million in CAF Phase I funds it accepted in 2012 to bring broadband services to 93,000 unserved locations and $61.3 million in 2013 to deploy or upgrade broadband service to more than 101,000 locations. 

By accepting CAF-II funds, Frontier said it will be able to extend services to even more rural communities.

"We have taken a decent amount of CAF money so we know what to expect and how it works," Abernathy said. "I think that experience means that when we look at these additional builds and additional investments, we have a broad experience."

For more:
- see Frontier's statement

Related articles:
CenturyLink, Windstream say FCC's CAF-II timeline is too restrictive
FCC sets 10 Mbps as new rural broadband starting point
CenturyLink, Frontier say CAF-II should support 10/1 Mbps in all high-cost areas
FCC's Connect America Fund II receives mixed response