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A total of 207 rural broadband providers accepted $5.283 billion in the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model (A-CAM) program, which is a part of the broader Connect America Fund program. This funding will be provided in annual increments over the next ten years to support the expansion of rural broadband across America.
According to the FCC, this A-CAM funding will support bringing broadband to over 631K locations in 43 states. Many existing ADTRAN customers have chosen to participate in the A-CAM program and are planning broadband projects as a result. This funding infusion also provides added benefits to our customers by releasing capital for network upgrades and expansions in other areas. Some of those projects are already underway.
Great Plains Communications of Nebraska has announced several broadband construction plans for 2017, including upgrades to their 100G fiber backbone.
Many more projects are underway and we’ll see much more momentum for A-CAM funded build outs in the months to come. ADTRAN customers Lynch Interactive and Otelco previously announced their participation in A-CAM for an upcoming broadband expansion. A-CAM recipients are required to build out to designated locations and must meet certain speed requirements.
A minimum 25 Mbps downstream/3 Mbps upstream tier will be required for roughly 272K locations, or roughly 43%. Thirty two percent, or roughly 202K locations will have a 10 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream requirement, and close to 8% will have a 4 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream requirement. About 17% will fall under the “reasonable request” standard, meaning carriers will be required to extend broadband to hard to reach locations if requested.
ADTRAN has been a strong proponent of the CAF and A-CAM programs, with our efforts in Washington helping to maximize CAF subsidies for highly qualified operators. With almost 90 percent market share for CAF deployments with the majority of price-cap carriers that have accepted CAF2 funding, we are uniquely qualified to help rate-of-return carriers with A-CAM rollouts.
We’ve shipped over 10 million vectored DSL ports and have vast experience in helping service providers extend 25/3 Mbps service to 18,000 feet. We look forward to helping our partners meet this important goal of expanding broadband to thousands of communities across rural America.