Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Qwest Requests $350 Million in Broadband Stimulus Funds for Rural Projects

Qwest Communications is seeking $350 million in broadband stimulus funding to extend broadband at speeds of 12 to 40 Mbps to rural communities throughout its local service region, which is comprised of 14 Midwestern and Western states.

In its application, Qwest proposes to build facilities to serve more than half a million homes, schools, businesses and hospitals that lack access to today's high-speed Internet capabilities. It plans to introduce the service at download speeds of 12 to 40 Mbps.
The total cost of the proposed deployment would be $467 million. Qwest is requesting a grant for $350 million from the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), which is administered by the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). When Congress enacted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last year, it directed the USDA to establish a program that would stimulate broadband deployment to hard-to-serve rural areas. The BIP provides 75 percent of the build-out costs. The remaining 25 percent, or $117 million, would be funded by Qwest.

"Much like the water and electric programs the government established to encourage rural development, federal grants are needed to enable the deployment of broadband to high-cost, unserved areas," said Steve Davis, senior vice president of Qwest Public Policy and Government Relations.

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