Windstream has received all of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund long-form authorizations from the FCC. Windstream will receive $523 million over 10 years to help bring its Kinetic fiber-to-the-home internet service to approximately 193,000 locations in 18 states.
RDOF was designed to support network upgrades to bring broadband to unserved rural areas that would have been cost-prohibitive without a public-private partnership. These projects will deliver ultra-fast 1 Gigabit broadband to some of Windstream’s most rural customers.
“As the pandemic demonstrated, robust broadband has become an essential service as more and more of the nation’s economy moves online, and public-private partnerships are essential to making it available in the most rural areas of America,” said Tony Thomas, president and CEO of Windstream. “That’s why Windstream is participating in network expansion partnerships at the federal, state and local levels to deliver future-proof fiber broadband connectivity to our customers, and we have a strong track record of meeting our commitments.”
Windstream has already announced public-private partnerships in Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, and more are on the way.
RDOF Phase I targets wholly unserved census blocks, defined as those blocks where no location receives 25/3 Mbps broadband. Windstream has begun construction in 16 of the 18 states where it received RDOF support.
Separately, Windstream has begun its own $2 billion initiative to continue expanding its fiber footprint and gigabit services to over 2 million homes and businesses in areas where there is an economically feasible business case.