Windstream seeks $238 million to fill in broadband gaps

Windstream's broadband network may now reach over 1.1 million subscribers, but it is having a hard time justifying the expense to expand these services into its 'unserved' communities. To close that gap, Windstream has applied for a $238 million broadband stimulus grant to bring broadband services to what it says is more than half a million homes and businesses in rural areas in 16 states.

"Windstream has invested hundreds of millions of dollars to deploy broadband services to virtually every community in our network and now serves more than 1.1 million high-speed Internet customers," said Mike Rhoda, senior vice president of government affairs for Windstream in a release. "But the costs to deploy broadband to the vast majority of our remaining, unserved customers are prohibitive."

With a total cost of $318 million, Windstream will put up $80 million of its own money under the grant it submitted to the Broadband Initiatives Program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS).     

If Windstream does win a funding grant, it would add more than 7,000 miles to its fiber network and install additional network equipment (DSLAMs and remote DLCs) to bring broadband service to about 500,000 homes and 80,000 businesses within 320 exchanges. Set to deliver speeds from 6-12 Mbps, the project would enable Windstream to make 93 percent of its three million voice lines broadband capable.

Similar to its other ILEC counterparts AT&T and Qwest, Windstream sat out during the first round of broadband stimulus funding. But in just the past week Windstream along with AT&T and Qwest have changed their tune by applying for broadband stimulus funding.

For more:
- see the release here

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