Cen­tu­ryLink adds ser­vice to ru­ral ar­eas

The Denver Post - - BUSINESS - By Ta­mara Chuang

Cen­tu­ryLink on Tues­day said that it ex­panded high-speed in­ter­net ser­vice to thou­sands of ru­ral Colorado house­holds as part of a govern­ment-sup­ported plan to ex­pand broad­band ac­cess.

Ap­prox­i­mately 28,000 house­holds and busi­nesses can now re­ceive in­ter­net speeds be­tween 10 mbps to 80 mbps in cities in­clud­ing Pagosa Springs West, Cortez and Du­rango.

Half of those house­holds are in re­gions that qual­i­fied for govern­ment sup­port be­cause it’s ex­pen­sive to build out broad­band ser­vice there. Sup­port comes from the Fed­eral Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion’s Con­nect Amer­ica Fund.

Back in Au­gust 2015, Cen­tu­ryLink said it ac­cepted $26.5 mil­lion per year for six years as part of the Con­nect Amer­ica Fund. In ex­change, it must pro­vide broad­band ser­vice of at least 10 mbps for down­load­ing and 1 mbps for up­load­ing to 50,000 homes and busi­nesses in cer­tain ru­ral ar­eas. In Colorado, the com­pany up­graded 150 wire cen­ters near these ru­ral ar­eas to ex­tend broad­band.

“Through the con­struc­tion of new fiber cable and up­grad­ing ad­di­tional ex­ist­ing fa­cil­i­ties to ru­ral wire cen­ters across the state, more than 13,000 ad­di­tional cus­tomer lo­ca­tions ben­e­fit­ted

from im­proved speeds, some reach­ing 80 mbps,” said Cen­tu­ryLink spokesman Bran­don Yergey. “Speeds vary based on dis­tance lim­i­ta­tions.”

Cen­tu­ryLink also shared how many house­holds in a few of the ru­ral cities are ben­e­fit­ing from the broad­band up­grade:

•Pagosa Springs West – 1,123

•Du­rango – 786

•Black For­est – 637

•Cortez – 608

•South Fork – 442

•Estes Park – 338

Colorado was just one state where Cen­tu­ryLink re­ceived pub­lic fund­ing to build out broad­band in ru­ral ar­eas. In 2015, the com­pany ac­cepted $506 mil­lion an­nu­ally over six years to de­liver broad­band ser­vice to 2.3 mil­lion ru­ral house­holds in 33 states na­tion­wide.

The FCC re­quired com­pa­nies to build out 40 per­cent of the house­holds by the end of 2017 and com­plete the build out by the end of 2020. Cen­tu­ryLink said it is ahead of that goal.

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