Little Rock, ARK. – Windstream has begun construction of its first broadband stimulus project in Oklahoma. The work near Stilwell is being funded in part by a federal grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The stimulus grants were designed to bring broadband to sparsely populated and remote areas where extending high-speed Internet service is cost prohibitive without a public-private partnership.
“This is an exciting day for Windstream and our customers in the Stilwell area,” said Scott Kuck, Windstream’s local manager. “This project will expand our broadband network in the Stilwell area and make a high-speed Internet connection available to approximately 1,360 potential customers.”
Broadband access to the Internet gives users a powerful tool for education, commerce and entertainment.
Nationally, Windstream was the largest single recipient of broadband stimulus grants awarded on a competitive basis by the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service.
Windstream won grants totaling $181.3 million for projects in 13 states, including Oklahoma. The grants cover 75 percent of the cost of installing broadband. Windstream will invest the remaining 25 percent, a total of $60.4 million.
In the Stilwell area, the grant totals $2.3 million, and Windstream’s investment is approximately $760,000. The project involves upgrading Windstream’s existing network with about 56 miles of fiber optic cable as well as electronic equipment. It will give customers access to the Internet at speeds of at least 6 Mbps.
Construction is expected to be completed in mid-March and the new broadband service should be available to Windstream customers in late June.
Windstream Corp. (Nasdaq: WIN) is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas. Windstream has more than $6 billion in annual revenues and is listed on the S&P 500 index. For more information, visit www.windstream.com