Little Rock, ARK. – Windstream has begun construction of its first broadband stimulus project in Arkansas. The work southwest of Harrison 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 Harrison area,” said Julia Anderson, regional vice president of operations for Windstream. “This project will expand our broadband network into unserved areas and make a high-speed Internet connection available to approximately 320 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 Arkansas. The grants cover 75 percent of the cost of installing broadband. Windstream will invest the remaining 25 percent, a total of $60.4 million.
Windstream has now begun stimulus work in 12 of the 13 states where it has grants, and multiple projects are underway in most states.
Statewide in Arkansas, the federal grant totals almost $7.3 million, and Windstream’s investment is more than $2.4 million.
In the Harrison area, the grant totals $272,000, and Windstream will invest $68,000. The project involves upgrading Windstream’s existing network with 4 miles of fiber optic cable as well as electronic equipment along state highways 43 and 7 southwest of Harrison. The work is scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2012.
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