Comcast bags $45M as Florida dishes out $144M for broadband

Florida awarded more than $144 million for broadband projects across 41 counties there, with Comcast scoring nearly a third of the money doled out from the state’s Broadband Opportunity Program. However, Charter Communications and Cox Communications also emerged as big winners.

The operator came away with a total of $45.2 million for 23 different projects, making it the largest grant winner by a wide margin. Its largest single award was nearly $4.5 million for a build designed to reach 2,986 unserved and underserved locations within Putnam County.

Charter, meanwhile, received approximately $27.9 million, with its largest grant coming in at $4.7 million to connect 2,276 underserved locations in Hernando County. Cox Communications got $16.2 million, inclusive of a $4.8 million award to service 795 unserved locations within Alachua County.

Others who won substantial sums include fixed wireless access provider TriTech Wireless ($14.7 million), Suwannee Valley Electric Cooperative ($10 million) and AT&T ($2 million).

All told, the 58 projects being funded by the program will help connect around 160,000 unserved locations.

Florida established its Office of Broadband in 2020 and in 2022 the state allocated $400 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to fuel its new Broadband Opportunity Program. Grant awards for the program are capped at $5 million.

During an initial application window held late last year, the state said it received 110 applications requesting $282.7 million in funding. A second application window to allocate the remaining available funds is expected to open this spring. The program has until December 31, 2024 to dish out the money.

2023 grant tallies

So far this year, Comcast has also won $19.1 million to connect 2,948 locations in South Carolina and $67 million to connect 27,850 locations in Georgia. That brings its 2023 tally to date to at least $131.3 million.

Charter took home $4.1 million in South Carolina, $11.8 million in Missouri and $49.5 million in Georgia, for a grand total of at least $93.3 million in grants thus far in 2023. AT&T bagged $13.3 million in South Carolina and $2.2 million in Kansas for a total of $17.5 million.

Cox won $8.1 million in Georgia and $6.4 million in Kansas, meaning it has amassed at least $30.7 million so far this year. Elsewhere, Consolidated Communications and TDS Telecom snagged funding in Maine to the tune of $17 million and $1.7 million, respectively.