AT&T and Verizon, the two biggest telecommunications companies in America, have declined to accept funding the Federal Communications Commission earmarked to support broadband expansion to rural areas.
In a brief letter filed with the FCC, New York-based Verizon declined funding without an explanation. However, the company expressed support for the FCC's Universal Service Fund reforms last year, which make the funding possible.
"These reforms will modernize the program and ensure the USF support will now be used to offset the cost of broadband deployment in rural America," wrote Kathleen Grillo, Verizon's senior vice president, federal regulatory affairs.
Grillo said $19.7 million was available to Verizon under phase one of the Connect America Fund.
Dallas-based AT&T, which was eligible for $47.8 million, also declined funding, Telecompetitor reported Wednesday.
The FCC on Wednesday announced that nearly 400,000 residents and small business owners in 37 states will gain access to high-speed Internet service within three years thanks to phase one of the Connect America Fund. About $115 million in public funding and tens of millions of dollars in private investment will support the expansion.