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Broadband

The Buildout: WeLink debuts in DC

This week in broadband builds: WeLink's DC rollout; Ziply goes live in Sumas; Brightspeed's initial Ohio build; Clearwave's network debut in Kansas.

  • Fixed-wireless provider WeLink finished the first phase of its network rollout in Washington, D.C., completing its deployment in just 30 days. WeLink now provides access to free gigabit broadband to select households in the Trinidad neighborhood of Ward 5 and is "expanding to other neighborhoods in the near future," said John Paul Farmer, president of WeLink Cities in a press release.

    WeLink is participating in Washington's Community Internet Program, which opens up public infrastructure to broadband providers willing to deliver affordable Internet access to residents of at least 200/200 Mbit/s. According to the press release, residents of Washington, D.C. can join a waitlist to be "first in line to receive service" here.

    Farmer joined WeLink in March, following his stint as CTO of New York City where he worked with the De Blasio administration on the NYC Master Plan to close the digital divide (an effort currently sidelined under new Mayor Eric Adams).


    Listen to John Paul Farmer explain the WeLink Cities program and how the company is delivering free and affordable broadband.


  • Brightspeed announced this week that its $2 billion fiber network deployment plan will cover a large chunk of Ohio, where the company expects to deliver over 170,000 new fiber passings by 2023. Those locations will include both residential and commercial dwellings in the counties of Allen, Crawford, Darke, Defiance, Henry, Logan, Lorain, Richland, Trumbull, Union, Van Wert and Wayne, Ohio.

    All in, Brightspeed is planning to pass over 380,000 locations in Ohio, and up to 3 million homes and businesses throughout the Midwest, Southeast and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the next five years.

     (Source: gualtiero boffi / Alamy Stock Photo)

    (Source: gualtiero boffi / Alamy Stock Photo)

    The company comprises the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) assets and operations across 20 states of former operator Lumen, which are the subject of a pending acquisition by Apollo-managed private equity funds. According to the latest announcement, the parties anticipate regulatory approvals in Q3 and to close in early Q4.

    Brightspeed said it will name other state-specific build plans "over the coming weeks."

  • Ziply Fiber is now delivering service in Sumas, Washington, offering 2-Gig and 5-Gig residential services to more than 480 addresses throughout the city. The company, formed in 2020 via the acquisition of Frontier's operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, is in the midst of a $500 million full-fiber buildout across its 250,000-square-mile northwest footprint, which it began in June 2020. Earlier this year, Ziply announced that it had added more than 30 cities to its multi-gig footprint in Washington, Oregon and Idaho, reaching more than 364,000 locations.

    Ziply's northwest build is being funded by a mix of public and private investment. The company raised $350 million from bond buyers last year, and it received FCC authorization for $57.2 million through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) phase one to deploy in 21,336 locations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.


    Related Ziply Fiber starts next fiber upgrade wave, puts XGS-PON on roadmap
  • Clearwave Fiber will build a full-fiber network in Lansing, Kansas. According to a press release, the build is being funded through grants from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

    Clearwave previously announced its entry into Kansas through its acquisition of fiber network provider RG Fiber, but the Lansing build is the company's first network presence in the state.

— Nicole Ferraro, senior editor, global broadband coverage, Light Reading. Host of "The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.

The Buildout is a new column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. Send us your news right here.

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