q isn't going to bid on the first round of broadband stimulus funds, according to a story in the Denver Business Journal. The company says that participating under the current rules doesn't make financial sense. Apparently, the free money isn't so free after all. Is it ever? It seems like if anyone could have found a project or two on their own turf that would bring broadband to communities that need it, it ought to be Qwest and its sparsely populated 14 state footprint.
Nevertheless, this opens the door for smaller companies in those areas for whom many of the rules a national ILEC finds troublesome aren't so critical. Here's a quick poll for readers in the industry, a question I've posed before:
The way I see it, a little creativity could go a long way. But the biggest problem I hear about is that the stimulus money helps the most in overcoming an initial capex hurdle, while it is the long term opex that makes serving small, remote communities uneconomical.
Still, $7.2B is a drop in the bucket, we all know that. It isn't going to bring broadband (if one can call 768kbps by that name without snickering of course) everywhere overnight, but surely we can find enough projects where it does tip the balance?