Thursday, April 15, 2021

AT&T’s Sketchy History With Connect America Fund Under Scrutiny in Florida

 AT&T is working overtime in Florida to expand rural broadband, reported The Capitolist. As lawmakers finalize the state’s Broadband Opportunity Program, which will award millions of dollars in grants to broadband providers, critics question AT&T’s motives when it comes to the current broadband infrastructure push. Recently, AT&T had been reprimanded by administrators in Mississippi for their underperformance in building out broadband in their state.

The Capitolist reported that seven lobbying firms representing AT&T appeared before lawmakers recently, aiming to influence rules and regulations, including the wording of HB 753 that will establish a regulatory structure for the grant money. Florida’s share of federal grant money available in 2021 is $121 million. 

Grant money is contingent on providers meeting certain criteria and delivering connectivity, which has put AT&T under a microscope. Inside Towers reported last October that Mississippi’s Public Service Commission filed a complaint with the FCC, alleging AT&T took over $283 million from the federal Connect America Fund II but failed to deploy the required broadband service in the state. Continue Reading

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