Frontier secures $72M Connect America loan to expand broadband reach

Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) is one of the first service providers to receive funds to expand broadband availability in unserved and underserved areas from the FCC's new Connect America Fund (CAF).

The telco has accepted $71.9 million from the regulator's CAF, which it will use to upgrade facilities in its territory to provide broadband DSL service to an additional 92,876 households. In April, the FCC told Frontier it would provide them these funds if it agreed to build out broadband service to unserved or underserved areas within its territory within a certain timeframe.

Among the states in Frontier's footprint that could benefit from the new investment will be Michigan, Oregon, Washington and West Virginia.

Frontier has been aggressively updating much of the infrastructure it purchased from Verizon in 2010 to deliver broadband DSL services to new and existing customers. To date, the telco said it provides broadband to almost 80 percent of the households in its territories.

Kathleen Quinn Abernathy, Executive Vice President of External Affairs for Frontier Communications, said this new financial grant "will supplement the more than $1.5 billion of private investment made by Frontier over the last two years to deploy an advanced communications network to rural America."

Service providers interested in taking part in the program had 90 days to respond to the first phase of the CAF.

Other possible recipients for this funding include a host of telcos, including smaller independents and large incumbents. These include Alaska Communications Systems, AT&T (NYSE: T), CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), Consolidated Communications (Nasdaq: CNSL), FairPoint Communications (Nasdaq: FRP), Hawaiian Telcom (Nasdaq: HCOM), Virgin Islands Telephone Co., Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN).

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
FCC debates whether DSL or FTTP is best fit for the Connect America fund
FCC: Should Connect America Fund invest in fiber or DSL to wire homes?
FCC eyes special access regulation, draws criticism from broadband supporters
6 large telcos put broadband, USF reform proposals on the table
FCC to lay out USF reform plans

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