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FCC CAF 1, Take Two, Draws a Crowd

An FCC spokesman said it would be Wednesday before the commission had tallied up the takers for its revamped second round of its first tranche of Connect America Fund (CAF 1) broadband subsidies, but it already looks like its efforts to make the funds more attractive to telcoms have paid off.

In addition to AT&T, which applied for $100 million Tuesday -- the deadline to apply for the money -- CenturyLink said it would put in for $54 million more to deliver broadband to high-cost, hard-to-reach areas. That is in addition to the $35 million it accepted in 2012 -- AT&T took a pass the first time around.

Frontier Communications told B&C it had applied for $71.5 million, on top of the $71.9 million the first time around, for a total of $141 million.

Kathleen Abernathy, Frontier executive VP of external affairs, said "Frontier is a broadband company focused on delivering the life-changing benefits of broadband across our entire service area. CAF support is an important component of Frontier's continued strategy to expand broadband to high-cost, low-density areas across rural America. We look forward to continuing to work with the FCC on this critical initiative."

An FCC spokesman estimated there were 10 or so companies eligible for the money, which goes to incumbent local exchange carriers.

In May, The FCC modified the requirements for the CAF 1 money to try and make it more attractive after uber ILECs Verizon and AT&T passed on the subsidies. Verizon still wasn't interested this time around.