This week in broadband builds: Mercury Broadband's RDOF plans; Spectrum live in Dona Ana; SiFi, Google Fiber to build Mesa open access network; Fidium live in Concord; Brightspeed's Missouri build.
- The latest disbursement of the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) saw $62 million go to Mercury Broadband for network builds in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. The funding will cover the deployment of hybrid fixed wireless and fiber broadband networks to reach over 122,000 underserved locations. According to a press release, construction will begin immediately and take approximately six years to complete.
Mercury Broadband's $62 million allotment was announced in the FCC's eleventh round of RDOF authorizations. The other authorized bidders in this latest round include FiberLight (roughly $1.5 million for 3,725 locations in Virginia and Georgia) and MEI Telecom (roughly $480,000 for 175 locations in Michigan).
- Spectrum's services are live for 750 homes and businesses in rural Dona Ana County, New Mexico. That follows the recent launch of services for 1,200 locations in neighboring El Paso County, according to an announcement. Spectrum – which is advertising "starter speeds" of 300 Mbit/s in Dona Ana County – is spending $5 billion to deploy fiber-optic networks in unserved rural communities, bolstered by $1.2 billion won through RDOF to cover approximately 1 million customer locations across 24 states. Spectrum also recently began construction on a broadband network expansion in Noble County, Ohio, as part of its RDOF commitment, with a plan to reach more than 2,300 homes and small businesses.
Related: Charter starts to book RDOF revenues
- Mesa, Arizona has enlisted four providers, including SiFi Networks, Google Fiber, Wyyerd and Generate Ubiquity, to build an open access network to reach all of the city's homes and businesses. The companies were chosen following a Request for Information (RFI) from the city earlier this year to identify partners for building an open access network to help bridge the digital divide. In a press release, SiFi Networks said the multi-year project would cost $400 million and will utilize microtrenching technology, burying fiber cables in narrow roadway incisions – a method it calls "quiet, efficient, and fast."
- Fidium Fiber's service is now available to 27,000 homes in Concord, New Hampshire, according to a press release. The company, which offers symmetrical speeds from 50 Mbit/s to 2 Gigs, announced in June that 2-Gig service was now available across its entire footprint.
Fidium – the residential broadband arm of Consolidated Communications – has also recently started fiber network construction in Vermont, Maine and elsewhere, and has said it will "light up" 93,000 homes with fiber by the end of 2022.
Related: The Buildout: WeLink debuts in DC
- Brightspeed, which is investing over $2 billion in an XGS-PON fiber network upgrade, announced that it plans to build a large segment of its network in Missouri. The company expects to deliver over 130,000 new fiber passings in the state by the end of 2023, and over 310,000 fiber passings over the next five years.
Brightspeed also recently announced plans to build fiber to 170,000 locations in Ohio and 300,000 in North Carolina. Overall, Brightspeed expects to pass up to 3 million homes and businesses throughout the Midwest, Southeast and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the next five years.
— Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading and host of "The Divide" podcast
The Buildout is a new column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. Send us your news right here.