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CenturyLink to bring broadband to 25,000 rural households in Michigan

MICHIGAN CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced today that it will bring high-speed Internet services to more than 25,000 rural households and businesses in Michigan by accepting the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s Connect America Fund (CAF) statewide offer in Michigan.

CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II statewide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload to approximately 1.2 million locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks. The company is accepting a total of approximately $500 million a year for six years.

High-speed Internet access brings many benefits to rural communities, including economic development and better access to education and healthcare services such as distance learning and telemedicine.

“We’re pleased to help bridge the urban-rural digital divide by bringing high-speed broadband to more than 25,000 households and businesses in high-cost markets in Michigan,” said Duane Ring, CenturyLink senior vice president of global field operations. “While CAF II funding does not address all markets in our footprint, our company investment for CAF II is significant, and we look forward to working closely with Michigan policymakers to find funding and deployment solutions for additional markets.”

“This is a major investment and commitment to the state. Thousands of homes and businesses will see network upgrades in Michigan, in some of the most difficult to serve rural locations in the state,” said Executive Director of Connect Michigan Eric Frederick.

Once CenturyLink’s initial CAF II six-year build-out plan is finalized over the coming months, construction is expected to begin in early 2016.

The FCC created the CAF program in 2011 to facilitate high-speed Internet access in high-cost locations by transitioning Universal Service Fund money that was supporting rural landline service to the build-out of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.