Windstream to use PSC grant to boost rural internet speeds in Nebraska

March 6, 2019

About 1,500 rural Nebraskans will get a boost in internet speeds thanks to Windstream and the Public Service Commission.

Windstream said Wednesday that it will use $2.2 million from the Nebraska Universal Service Fund to expand access to its Kinetic broadband internet in 13 Nebraska cities and towns. The company is investing $590,000 of its own money.

The money Windstream is getting from the state comes from funds earmarked to bring broadband to rural areas where it otherwise would not be economically feasible because of a limited customer base.

“I’m pleased to see the universal service fund doing what we’ve designed it to do, provide access to internet services in the unserved and underserved areas of our state,” PSC District 3 Commissioner Tim Schram said in a news release.

Windstream said it will provide minimum download speeds of 10 megabits per second, but about 80 percent of customers in the areas covered would be eligible for speeds of anywhere from 25 to 100 megabits.

Windstream, which serves mostly southeastern and south-central Nebraska, said the areas that will get increased internet speeds are in or near: Ashland, Beatrice, Bennet, Bruno, Cedar Bluffs, Colon, Cortland, Fairbury, Geneva, Hansen, Harvard, Hastings and Hickman.

The company said some homes in or near Hickman will receive fiber-optic cable straight to their homes, which will make them eligible for Windstream’s 1-gigabit internet service, which currently is available only to a limited number of customers in Lincoln, Hastings, Beatrice and York.

Windstream, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week after losing a court fight with one of its bondholders, said earlier this week that it added 14,400 new internet subscribers in 2018.