Windstream to Expand Gigabit Broadband Service in Georgia With FCC Support

Friday, March 5th, 2021

Windstream, a privately held communications and software company, has submitted its application to receive $147 million over 10 years in the FCC’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction to bring fiber-to-the-home internet services to more than 48,000 locations in Georgia.

"This is an exciting opportunity to further expand our fiber network in Georgia, enabling us to bring gigabit-speed broadband to rural communities that would have been too expensive to serve without a public-private partnership," said Michael Foor, Windstream’s vice president of state government affairs in Georgia.

RDOF Phase I targets wholly unserved census blocks, defined as those blocks where no location receives 25/3 Mbps broadband.

Foor noted Windstream has significantly expanded broadband access across Georgia over the past six years, investing more than $525 million during that period. At the end of 2020, 500,000 households qualified for speeds of 25 Mbps or higher. In addition, Windstream deployed gigabit speeds to 100,000 locations in 2020, bringing the total in Georgia to 150,000. The company will continue to invest in its gigabit network in 2020 and beyond.

"Partnerships are the key to deploying high-speed broadband in high-cost rural areas," Foor said. "That’s why Windstream has partnered with Colquitt EMC, Chattooga County, Allentown and others in the last year. We have ongoing discussions with additional community leaders and EMC’s and are actively seeking additional partnerships to accelerate fiber deployment and the related benefits for our communities."

Foor said Windstream appreciates Gov. Brian Kemp’s proposal to dedicate $20 million to broadband deployment this year and $10 million annually thereafter.