ISPs, including cable ops, want to plug into Gigapower5/19/2023
Gigapower was born earlier this month after AT&T and BlackRock finalized their joint venture agreement, which will initially focus on building fiber networks to about 1.5 million locations that fall outside AT&T's legacy wireline footprint.
Key to Gigapower's approach as a wholesaler is an open access model that enables local, regional and national Internet service providers (ISPs) to ride the network and market and sell broadband services to residential and business customers.
Bill Hogg, the CEO of Gigapower, joins the Light Reading Podcast to expand on the company's open access model. He discusses plans to build to 1.5 million locations by 2025, exploration beyond that initial target and how Gigapower is sizing up opportunities to participate in the $42.45 Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.
With respect to Gigapower's open access angle, AT&T is already on board as the anchor tenant. But Hogg, the former president of AT&T Technology Operations, says there is high interest from several other ISPs to provide services on Gigapower's wholesale network.
That list includes cable operators and "non-facility-based ISPs," according to Hogg.
"We certainly anticipate that there will be a portfolio of ISPs that we'll have in a particular market," he says. "What we want to try to do is find a good complementary group of ISPs that go after segments that they otherwise might not be going after, and maybe have a bundle or a proposition that would be unique for that particular ISP and be successful in the marketplace."
For a lightly edited transcript, click the closed caption button in the video toolbar. If you'd like to skip around and listen, here are some topics we cover:
- Hogg discusses the top priorities at Gigapower after the deal to form the JV was finalized (1:00)
- Gigapower has outlined its first set of markets but already has more candidates in the hopper (3:01)
- Hogg expands on the criteria Gigapower is using to decide where to build (5:15)
- Why a JV paired with an open access model makes strategic sense in today's market (7:14)
- Why Gigapower is confident that it can complete its initial buildout by 2025 (8:50)
- How Gigapower is set up as a standalone company, number of employees and how the company will use contractors (10:11)
- Gigapower expects to support a "portfolio of ISPs" in each market (13:25)
- What Hogg considers to be the biggest challenge for Gigapower in the near term (15:45)
- Why the open access model is critical to Gigapower's financial success (19:30)
- How Gigapower is sizing up opportunities to build in rural areas via the BEAD program (22:12)
- AT&T-BlackRock fiber JV IDs initial wave of build markets
- AT&T and BlackRock close Gigapower fiber JV deal (press release)
- AT&T resets fiber plan, sheds light on BlackRock JV
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading