Telecoms CenturyLink and Frontier Communications informed the FCC just before the end of the year that they will miss their agreed benchmarks for rolling out basic broadband to customers in dozens of states.
According to Ars Technica, CenturyLink agreed in 2015 to roll out broadband connectivity with a minimum of 10 Mbps download and 11 Mbps upload to 1.17 million customer sites across 33 states by December 31, 2020, accepting over half a billion US dollars over six years in subsidies through the Connect America Fund Phase II grant program. Frontier accepted over a quarter-billion dollars to expand by just under 660,000 in 28 states.
Both telcos now have until December 31 of 2021 to 100% of their goal or face returning the money they were staked plus massive interest.
The carriers won’t face the possibility of punishment yet. As Frontier said in its FCC filing on Friday last week, US law gives the ISP “until December 31, 2021 to complete its CAF II buildout in the states where it has not yet achieved the 100 percent milestone.” The law cited by Frontier says that once an ISP informs the FCC that it “has not met a final milestone,” the carrier “will have twelve months from the date of the final milestone deadline to come into full compliance.” After that, the government can take back an amount “equal to 1.89 times the average amount of support per location received in the support area,” plus 10 percent of the carrier’s total funding in that area.
CenturyLink and Frontier also fell short of interim deadlines that passed at the end of 2019.
AT&T was accused last year of similarly missing its CAF II marks by falsely claiming availability at over 133,000 sites in Mississippi. While initially denying the accusation, AT&T later admitted to submitting false data, though it claimed this was due to errors in its coverage mapping system.
Read More at Ars Technica