According to a recent study from VPS, sponsored and commissioned by the ACAM Broadband Coalition, the cost of serving rural, isolated, agrarian and similarly situated areas could be more than the total amount attributable to all planned state and federal broadband programs.
The sponsoring group is made up of several relatively small and midsize independent telephone companies that serve many costly, rural exchanges.
The letter was issued in response to the Commission’s proposed ACAM Enhancement Plan and included a recommendation that companies electing participation in the plan be required to deploy 100/20 Mbps or faster service to 90% of eligible locations.
If the VPS estimates are anywhere near correct, the cost of bringing 100/20 Mbps to rural America will be truly staggering. Existing federal and state broadband programs will need to be updated, and/or new ones implemented, to assure that all Americans have the considerable benefit of first-class broadband service.