FCC authorizes $163M in Wisconsin over 10 years for expansion of rural broadband

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: The seal of the Federal Communications Commission hangs behind commissioner Tom Wheeler's chair inside the hearing room at the FCC headquarters February 26, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Commission will vote on Internet rules, grounded in multiple sources of the Commissions legal authority, to ensure that Americans reap the benefits of an open Internet. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday authorities more than $163.1 million in support in Wisconsin over the next decade for maintaining, improving and expanding affordable broadband for 21,080 rural homes and businesses.

A news release from the FCC says the support is targeted to smaller rural carriers, known as “rate-of-return” carriers.  These carriers agreed this year to accept subsidies based on the FCC’s Alternative Connect America Cost Model, or A-CAM, which provides predictability, rewards efficiency, and provides more value for each taxpayer dollar.  The homes and businesses are in sparsely populated rural areas where the per-location price of deployment and ongoing costs of providing broadband service are high, requiring support from the FCC’s Universal Service Fund to facilitate network improvements and keep rates reasonably comparable to those in urban areas.

In return for the support that is being approved, carriers must maintain, improve, and expand broadband throughout their service areas, including providing service of at least 25 Megabits per second downstream and 3 Mbps upstream to over 363,000 locations nationwide, including more than 37,000 locations on Tribal lands.

Following is a list of Wisconsin counties where companies will receive support, with 10-year support amounts and the number of homes and businesses supported (locations):

County Company Support/10 Years Supported Locations
Barron Rural Communications Holding Corporation $56,661 6
Boone Bergen Telephone Company $1,195,698 100
Buffalo Tri-County Communications Cooperative $1,392,116 79
Chippewa Bloomer Telephone Company $8,759,993 1,343
Crawford Richland-Grant Telephone Cooperative $8,009,451 682
Crawford Vernon Telephone Cooperative $1,960,729 169
Dunn Bloomer Telephone Company $119,377 8
Eau Claire Tri-County Communications Cooperative $2,968,222 309
Grant LICT Corporation $2,015,523 353
Grant Richland-Grant Telephone Cooperative $1,187,135 157
Iowa LICT Corporation $24,000 1
Jackson Tri-County Communications Cooperative $3,983,438 371
Lafayette LICT Corporation $9,070,251 663
Marathon Amherst Telephone Company $376,975 40
Pierce Baldwin Telecom, Inc. $1,427,211 170
Pierce Rural Communications Holding Corporation $9,894,678 1,662
Portage Amherst Telephone Company $8,714,801 2,580
Richland Richland-Grant Telephone Cooperative $11,774,934 1,142
Richland Vernon Telephone Cooperative $5,490,939 520
Rock Bergen Telephone Company $1,292,132 107
Rusk Rural Communications Holding Corporation $7,437,718 901
Sawyer Rural Communications Holding Corporation $12,946,378 1,998
Shawano Amherst Telephone Company $21,986 2
St. Croix Baldwin Telecom $8,849,482 2,053
Trempealeau Tri-County Communications Cooperative $23,789,009 1,957
Vernon Richland-Grant Telephone Cooperative $1,315,052 125
Vernon Vernon Telephone Cooperative $28,883,173 3,558
Waupaca Amherst Telephone Company $180,811 24
TOTAL $163,137,873 21,080
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