Frontier, CenturyLink missed Connect America Fund deployment targets in Dec-19, report says

23 Jan 2020

Financially stricken US fixed line operators Frontier Communications and CenturyLink have struggled to meet previously agreed deployment milestones related to the Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II, Telecompetitor reports. According to the US tech site, all telcos that accepted a share of the USD9 billion funding in 2015 were expected to reach 80% of locations in every state for which they are receiving support by 31 December 2019, but both carriers have missed that milestone in certain states.

Citing correspondence between Frontier and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the site notes that the telco has met or exceeded its targets in 16 states, but based on preliminary data, the company may not have met the target in 13 others, including Arizona, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia. CenturyLink, meanwhile, has achieved its targets in ten states, but may not have hit the required milestones in 23 others.

Going forward, the FCC is planning to replace the CAF with a new USD20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), as it believes that at least four million rural homes and small businesses still lack a modern broadband service.

TeleGeography notes that both Frontier and CenturyLink are currently struggling with financial problems. Frontier expects to file for bankruptcy in March, after accruing USD17.5 billion of debt. CenturyLink, meanwhile, admitted last year that it was reviewing options for its consumer business, and faces a similarly uncertain future.