The federal government's broadband stimulus awards continue to roll out, albeit slowly. Following Zayo's success in Indiana, today it was Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings), itcd, and RCN Business (NASDAQ:RCNI, news, filings) who will be seeing funding for middle mile expansion in rural areas.
Level 3's stimulus wins today totaled $13.7M, alongside which it will put $4.2M of matching funds. Level 3's strategy of offering to crack open the huts along stretches of its network that run through rural communities appears to have seen some success. That means their awards came in small chunks spread over 6 states:
- California: 11 new access points, $3.3M funding, $1.1M matching
- Florida: 7 new access points, $2.1M funding, $689K matching
- Georgia: 4 new access points, $1.4M funding, $476K matching
- Kansas: 4 new access points, $998K funding, $333K matching
- Tennessee: 4 new access points, $1.3M funding, $432K matching
- Texas: 17 new access points, $4.7M funding, $1.6M matching
One can see the attraction to the government in this approach. Since few actual fiber builds are required, the cost is lower and therefore they get more bang for the buck and perhaps more quickly as well. I'm not sure how many other states Level 3 applied in, but perhaps there are more such applications pending.
Deltacom's award of $9.4M with $2.3M in matching funds was focused solely on eastern Tennessee. The funds will be used to set up a 544 route mile network hooking up some 50 anchor institutions in communities on a loop from Chattanooga through Knoxville to Johnson City and Bristol. Tennessee is on the northwest frontier of Deltacom's southern footprint and it hasn't had the depth there that it has in neighboring states. Hence it does seem like an area they are quite happy to expand to given the opportunity.
And last but also largest, OpenCape won a $32 award with $8.2M of its own matching funds to bring greater broadband access to communities around Cape Cod. The project will include 350 new route miles of fiber and another 100 miles of microwave links, and will directly connect some 70 anchor institutions across the region. A big winner here is RCN Metro, the metro and regional fiber provider of RCN Business (NASDAQ:RCNI, news, filings), which won the contract to build and operate the fiber network should the project receive funding - which it now has. The network build will allow them to add unique routes to their footprint that might otherwise never have been feasible.
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