MONROE, La., Aug. 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced today that it will bring high-speed Internet services to approximately 1.2 million rural households and businesses in 33 states by accepting approximately $500 million a year for six years from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Connect America Fund (CAF).
CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II statewide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks.
"Our acceptance of the CAF II funding continues our commitment to further bridge the urban-rural digital divide by bringing high-speed broadband to households and businesses in many of CenturyLink's most rural markets," said John Jones, CenturyLink senior vice president for public policy and government relations. "These are high-cost markets with many deployment challenges. The Connect America Fund, along with our significant capital investments over the years, help make deploying rural broadband more cost effective. We believe the high-speed connectivity we will provide will bring many benefits to rural communities, including economic development and better access to education and healthcare services such as distance learning and telemedicine."
Once CenturyLink's CAF II six-year build-out plan is finalized over the coming months, construction is expected to begin in early 2016. CenturyLink is accepting the CAF II obligation to build and maintain a broadband network that reaches these high-cost locations, thus committing billions of dollars in capital expenditures to rural America.
CenturyLink has decided to decline the CAF II statewide offers for the states of California, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming. According to the CAF II rules, companies must decide whether to accept CAF II funding and related service obligations for their service areas on a statewide basis. If a company declines to accept a CAF II statewide offer, that funding will be subject to a competitive bidding process prescribed by the FCC whereby eligible providers can bid to serve all or part of those areas. CenturyLink remains committed to meeting the communications needs of its customers and may elect to participate in the FCC's bidding process and compete for CAF II support once the auction rules and requirements are finalized by the FCC.
The FCC created the CAF program in 2011 to facilitate the deployment of high-speed Internet access in high-cost locations by transitioning Universal Service Fund money that was supporting rural landline service to the build-out of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.
CenturyLink previously accepted approximately $75 million in CAF phase I interim, one-time support to bring broadband with 4 Mbps download speed to nearly 114,000 unserved rural locations.
About CenturyLink CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) is a global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company enabling millions of customers to transform their businesses and their lives through innovative technology solutions. CenturyLink offers network and data systems management, big data analytics and IT consulting, and operates more than 55 data centers in North America, Europe and Asia. The company provides broadband, voice, video, data and managed services over a robust 250,000-route-mile U.S. fiber network and a 300,000-route-mile international transport network. Visit CenturyLink.com for more information.
Forward Looking Statements
Certain non-historical statements made in this release and future oral or written statements or press releases by us or our management are intended to be forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on current expectations only, and are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. Actual events and results may differ materially from those anticipated, estimated, projected or implied by us if one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove incorrect. Uncertainties related to our business and our recent acquisitions are described in detail in Item 1A of our Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, as updated and supplemented by our subsequent SEC reports. You should be aware that new factors may emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to identify all such factors nor can we predict the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any one or more factors may cause actual results to differ from those reflected in any forward-looking statements. Given these uncertainties, we caution investors not to unduly rely on our forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future events or developments, changed circumstances, or otherwise. Furthermore, any information about our intentions contained in any of our forward-looking statements reflects our intentions as of the date of this release, and is based upon, among other things, the existing regulatory and technological environment, industry and competitive conditions, economic and market conditions, and our assumptions as of such date. We may change our intentions, strategies or plans at any time and without notice, based upon any changes in such factors, in our assumptions or otherwise.
SOURCE CenturyLink, Inc.