Mississippi investigates AT&T $ 300 million plan to expand rural broadband

Top Line

As states around the country seek low-income and reliable Internet service in rural areas during the epidemic, the state of Mississippi has subdued telecommunications giant AT&T, which as part of expanding broadband access to the state Promises to work to do. According to the project, about $ 300 million The Associated Press.

Key Facts

The Mississippi Public Service Commissioner has signed an investigative deputy director, AP said, seeking records related to the company’s claim from AT&T to provide Internet service to 133,000 locations in the state through the Connect America Fund For, a federal program to expand broadband to rural parts. of the country.

Students in rural and low-income parts of the country have been harmed during the coronovirus epidemic because schools were closed and distance learning occurred at home, to slow the spread of a deadly disease.

The company required the Dallas-based company to produce documents showing the number of actual customers for AT & T’s fixed wireless service within 133,000 locations, according to APP; It also seeks information on the number of complaints filed with the company by the customers and the number of residents taking service and those applying for the wireless service decided based on AT & T’s claim that it was available and subsequently covered. Was determined not to be in the area.

AT&T in an email Forbes, Said the company complies with the law and requirements of the fund and “we are confident that we will surpass the finals.” [Connect America II] By the end of this year, 133,000 rural Mississippi households and businesses aim to provide high-speed Internet access. “

Main background

The Connect America Fund, called CAF, is an FCC program created to expand access to voice and broadband services in areas where they are unavailable. As part of the multi-year program, now in Phase II, the FCC subsidizes the cost of building new network infrastructure to fund service providers or upgrade the network to provide voice and broadband service. The FCC said that in the second phase, 103 bidders would have 10 years to provide fixed broadband and voice services to more than 700,000 locations in 45 states. A database maintained by the USAC, a non-beneficiary raised by the FCC to administer the FCC Connected American Fund (called the Universal Service Fund), lists the “Total Support Disbursed” lists for AT&T in 2019 as Phase II. For over $ 1.7 billion, for work. 18 states including more than $ 230 million in Mississippi. According to the AP, the company received a total of $ 283.78 million for all the work done in the state.