The Buildout: Comcast Business invests $3M in Virginia, NTIA awards $225M for tribal broadband

This week in broadband builds: Comcast Business expands in Virginia, NTIA awards $225 million for tribal broadband, Wave 7 progress in North Carolina, TDS Telecom in Wisconsin – and more.

The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking fiber and fixed wireless builds reaching roughly 45,000+ locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

Illustration of fiber optic cables.  (Source: Pixabay)
Illustration of fiber optic cables.
(Source: Pixabay)

  • Comcast Business announced plans to expand its network in Virginia to Charlottesville, Chesterfield, Fredericksburg, Reston, Sterling and Woodbridge. The company will invest $3 million to connect more than 250 businesses and organizations in the service areas and says the work will be completed by end of year. Earlier this year, Comcast Business also completed a two-year $28 million network expansion across Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, DC, connecting 7,000 businesses.
  • On Monday, Wave 7 – a local Internet service provider (ISP) in North Carolina – announced that it will expand broadband service to 400+ homes in Enfield, North Carolina, thanks to an investment of $350,000 from Connect Humanity, a non-profit organization focused on digital equity. This marks Connect Humanity's first impact investment. Connect Humanity's investment will also support Wave 7's work to "reach a further 1,600 households in neighboring towns," according to a blog post. Wave 7 is a wireless ISP delivering up to 120 Mbit/s and offering subscribers a pay-as-you-go model.
  • Metronet this week announced that its services are now available in New Bern, North Carolina, making speeds of up to 2 Gbit/s available to residents (up to 10 Gbit/s for businesses). The company also announced that it kicked off construction in St. Joseph, Missouri. According to a press release, the construction project – a "fully funded multimillion-dollar investment" – will take two years and connect 100% of the city to fiber.
  • The NTIA awarded another $224.5 million for infrastructure projects through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) last week. This latest round of grants went to 18 recipients and will connect 21,468 unserved Native American households, as well as businesses and anchor institutions, according to a press release. Grant recipients include the Northern Cheyenne Tribe ($52.9 million to connect 1,730 unserved households to gigabit fiber), the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska ($49.9 million to connect 14,032 households to fixed wireless and satellite broadband) and the Havasupai Tribe of the Havasupai Reservation, Arizona ($7.1 million to connect 102 households, 33 anchor institutions and one business with a wireless broadband network) – among others. See the full list of grant recipients here. Thus far, the NTIA has awarded $1.5 billion to 112 recipients through the $3 billion program that was launched under the Biden administration.
  • Spectrum recently announced that its services are live for over 2,400 homes and businesses in the Rogersville and Lexington areas of Lauderdale County, Alabama. The network extension is part of the company's $5 billion investment in unserved rural communities, which includes more than $1 billion from the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to reach roughly 1 million locations in 24 states.
  • Utopia Fiber will build out its open access fiber network to West Haven, Utah, the company announced last week. According to a press release, the citywide West Haven build will cost approximately $17.6 million and – "like every UTOPIA Fiber project since 2009—is on track to be funded and grown solely through subscriber revenue." As an open access network, Utopia builds and owns its network and lets multiple providers deliver service on it. West Haven will be Utopia's 20th city to offer fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).
  • TDS Telecom announced last week that it will begin construction "soon" to expand its fiber network to Whitewater and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The build will see TDS serve 12,900 homes and businesses in Manitowoc, and 3,800 in Whitewater. According to a press release, "Whitewater and Manitowoc join a growing list of Wisconsin communities in which TDS has projects planned or under way." Indeed, the news follows TDS Telecom's announcement in September that it is expanding its network to 18 communities across the state to reach 85,000 homes and businesses. TDS will deliver speeds up to 2 Gbit/s for residents and up to 10 Gbit/s for businesses.


Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "​​The Divide" podcast.

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