The Buildout: Comcast awarded $67M in Georgia; NY builds its first muni network
News Analysis Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading 1/6/2023
This week in broadband builds: Comcast, Spectrum, Windstream, electric co-ops and others win millions in Georgia; New York completes first leg of municipal network; Bluepeak goes live in Sheridan, Wyoming – and more.
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking fiber and wireless builds reaching roughly 90,000 locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
- Georgia announced more than $234 million in grants to deliver broadband to over 76,000 locations across 28 counties. According to a press release, the funding will be combined with "significant capital matches from the awardees," bringing the investment to nearly $455 million. Georgia's portion of the investment comes from its Capital Projects Fund Grant Program, with funds from the American Rescue Plan. The awards went to 12 ISPs for 29 projects. Among the recipients: Comcast received nearly $67 million for eight projects covering 27,850 locations; Spectrum received $39.3 million for five projects covering 18,841 locations; and Windstream received over $34.8 million for four projects covering 4,509 locations. Funding also went to electric cooperatives including Grady Electric Membership Corporation ($9.3 million; 3,620 locations), Mitchell Electric Membership Corporation ($9 million; 3,093 locations), Satilla Rural Electric Membership Corporation ($5.6 million; 2,533 locations), Oconee Electric Membership Corporation ($2.6 million; 1,134 locations), Middle Georgia Electric Membership Corporation ($2.5 million; 674 locations) and Irwin Electric Membership Corporation ($433,109; 100 locations). See the full list of awardees here.
- New York has completed initial construction on a $10 million municipal, open access broadband build, connecting over 2,000 previously unserved or underserved homes and businesses in the village of Sherburne in Chenango County. The project, which started construction in May 2022, spans four municipalities and is part of the state's $1 billion ConnectAll initiative to expand broadband access, affordability and equity statewide. According to a press release, construction is "rapidly progressing" in the Town of Nichols in Tioga County and will also extend to the Town of Diana in Lewis County and the Town of Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County. The project is New York's first municipal broadband network and is leveraging existing state-owned fiber through New York Power Authority (NYPA) to extend fiber from data centers to homes and businesses. Last-mile infrastructure is coming from Sherburne Electric, Development Authority of the North Country and Southern Tier Network. According to the governor's office, new customers in Sherburne are paying "approximately $40 per month for service, well below the average price for broadband in Chenango County." Customers in Sherburne can receive service from Sherburne Connect.
- Bluepeak is now live for homes and businesses in Sheridan, Wyoming. The build is part of the company's $9 million investment to expand broadband service to roughly 9,000 homes and businesses in the region. In a press release, Bluepeak said service is initially available in the "northwest and northeast corners of town," and construction will "continue moving south in the coming months" with service becoming available to more homes this year.
- Comcast will partner with Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on a $4.1 million project to deliver broadband to nearly 500 homes and businesses in the townships of Lykens, Mifflin, Upper Paxton, Reed, Wayne, Jefferson, Halifax, Washington and Jackson. According to local reporting, the county will foot 75% of the bill, with Comcast responsible for funding the rest and maintaining the network. Engineering and construction work are expected to commence soon.
- Fiber provider GoNetspeed announced this week that its full-fiber network build is complete in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. GoNetspeed, which has backing from Oak Hill Capital, invested $1.7 million to build out its network to roughly 1,800 homes and businesses in Cape Elizabeth. According to a press release, GoNetspeed is delivering symmetrical speeds ranging from 250 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s to customers in Maine, Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia.
- Construction is underway in Michigan where three service providers – 123NET, DayStarr Communications and Peninsula Fiber Network – are building a 90-mile fiber route connecting Southfield to Lansing. According to a press release, the new network is a "multi-million-dollar joint investment" that will "enhance connectivity options in underserved areas." Construction will continue over the next 18 months.
- RTC Communications, a broadband provider in Montgomery, Indiana, announced this week that it is in the midst of a $4 million fiber build in Bicknell, Indiana. The company is funding the build and expects services to be live in the spring, according to local reporting.
— Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "The Divide" podcast.
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