Qwest enters round two of the broadband stimulus race

It's official, Qwest will apply for a $350 million broadband stimulus funding grant to extend broadband services to rural communities in its 14-state ILEC region.

Qwest plans to use the grant funding to bring 12-40 Mbps broadband services to an estimated 500,000 homes, schools, businesses and hospitals that don't currently have broadband access.

With a total cost of $467 million, Qwest is asking for $350 million from the Broadband Initiatives Program piece of the broadband stimulus program. In turn, Qwest will fund the remaining 25 percent, or $117 million, for the project. For this project, Qwest will leverage the same Fiber to the Node and VDSL technologies it has been using in its larger markets such as Phoenix, Az. and Denver, Co. to deliver the 12-40 Mbps broadband speeds to rural customers.

Tom McMahon, a Qwest spokesperson, noted that the telco plans to use a mix of fiber-to-the-node and VDSL technologies to reach those intended download speeds.

"In fact, the fiber would help us serve more than half of the proposed coverage area with download speeds of 40 Mbit/s," said McMahon in a Light Reading Cable article. "Many areas also will be able to upload at speeds of 20 Mbit/s. And, all areas would be able to get download speeds of at least 12 Mbit/s."

While the NTIA has not revealed who has applied for round two funding, it appears that the larger carriers are more amenable to applying for funding. Last month, Qwest said a change in rules prompted it to consider applying for the second round of broadband stimulus funding. Further proof of incumbent ILECs and cable MSOs showing interest in applying for broadband stimulus funding came this week with the debut of the "Broadband Adoption Initiative" consortium. The new consortium, which includes the likes of AT&T and large cable operators such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable, had the One Economy Corporation file a second round broadband stimulus application on their behalf to extend broadband service and computers to lower-income housing projects.  

For more:
- see the release here
- Light Reading Cable has this article

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