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The Buildout: Conexon Connect, SRE complete fiber network in GeorgiaThe Buildout: Conexon Connect, SRE complete fiber network in Georgia

This week in broadband builds: Conexon's first 'Connect' project completed early; Lumos to invest another $100 million in South Carolina; Intrepid Fiber expands in Minnesota – and more.

Nicole Ferraro

October 20, 2023

5 Min Read
Fiber optic cables lie on a construction site
(Source: dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo)

The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week, we're tracking new fiber builds and service launches reaching over 80,000 locations across the US. Send us your news here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

  • Conexon announced the early completion of its $60 million fiber network in partnership with electric cooperative Southern Rivers Energy (SRE), headquartered in Barnesville, Georgia. The project was originally announced in 2021 as Conexon's first project serving as an ISP partner through its "Connect" arm (the company now has 20 such projects in the works in seven states). In a press release, Conexon said it completed SRE's three-year build in two years. The new network, called The Connect, will reach "100 percent of SRE's members across nine counties," said Conexon. According to SRE's website, the co-op services "more than 16,000 members." Conexon has secured over $2 billion in local, state and federal funding since 2018, including over $435 million awarded to Connect in 2021 through the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

  • Lumos this week announced that it will invest nearly $100 million to expand into Greenville County, South Carolina, building out over 775 miles of fiber. Engineering work is planned for early 2024, with construction to start in the "latter half" of the year. The build will bring broadband to "thousands" of homes and businesses, with Lumen being the "first fiber provider" in portions of the market. (According to the FCC's broadband map, roughly 28% of Greenville County has access to fiber broadband.) In a press release, Lumos – which has financial support from investment firm EQT – said Greenville is the company's third expansion into South Carolina this year, where it's investing a total of $250 million. The company also launched services last week in Crozet, Virginia.

Related:Conexon Connect gets $435M in latest RDOF round to serve fiber through rural co-ops

  • Intrepid Fiber Networks has started constructing a fiber network expansion in Greater St. Cloud, Minnesota, reaching over 44,000 homes and businesses. In a press release, the company said services will launch by the end of 2023, with options from "multiple ISP choices" on the open access network. Intrepid Fiber's Greater St. Cloud expansion follows its recently announced expansion to 40,000 premises in Bloomington, Minnesota. Intrepid Fiber Networks is a wholesale provider backed by investment firm Brookfield Infrastructure.

  • Clearwave Fiber – an entity of Cable One – will build out a fiber network to deliver service to "thousands" of homes and businesses on Florida's Space Coast. In a press release, the company said it began construction in the town of Titusville in early October and is awaiting permit approvals in Merritt Island, where construction is expected to start by the end of October. Clearwave Fiber will start construction in Palm Bay in early 2024. Cable One announced the formation of Clearwave Fiber in January 2022 in a joint venture with private equity and investment firms GTCR, Stephens Capital Partners, and the Pritzker Organization.

  • Kinetic announced two broadband buildouts in Pennsylvania this week. The company will start construction in mid-November on a $5.2 million public-private partnership in Greene County, delivering fiber broadband to nearly 800 homes and businesses once complete in spring 2024. Funding for the Greene County project included $2.5 million in grant funding from the county, received through the Appalachian Regional Commission, plus $2.7 million from Kinetic. Also, in Pennsylvania, the company is expanding fiber broadband to 2,700 homes and businesses in Armstrong County. In a press release, the company said services are now available for 2,200 homes, businesses and schools, with 500 additional locations to get service by spring 2024. Funding for this project is part of Kinetic's $2 billion investment to expand fiber across its 18-state footprint.

  • GoNetspeed announced investments in New York and Maine this week. The company said it will invest $9 million to build a fiber network in Lockport, New York, delivering service to more than 10,000 locations. Construction will begin this fall with service expected as "early as spring of 2024." And in Maine, GoNetspeed will invest $1.8 million to build a fiber network in the town of Lisbon, reaching more than 2,200 homes and businesses, with construction starting "in the coming weeks" and service installation "as early as this winter," according to the company. GoNetspeed is building fiber networks out in multiple states with private equity funding from Oak Hill Capital.

  • TDS has launched services for 3,000 homes and businesses in New London, Minnesota. The company announced its expansion in the region last year. Also this week, TDS started taking pre-orders for its fiber broadband services in regions of Montana. The company began building out in its first Montana community, Billings, in 2021, and connected its 1,000th customer there this summer. Earlier this year, TDS then started construction in the Montana regions of Helena, Helena Valley, Butte, Missoula and Great Falls, where it's now accepting pre-orders, with the first customers to be connected "in the next several months," according to the company.

  • Fybe (formerly Roanoke Connect) – the fiber broadband arm of Roanoke Cooperative – is expanding in the town of Halifax, North Carolina. According to a press release, the expansion will bring fiber broadband to over 400 rural homes and businesses. Fybe is under construction in multiple North Carolina communities and earlier this year announced the completion of its network in South Bertie County.

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The Buildout

About the Author(s)

Nicole Ferraro

Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast, Light Reading

Nicole covers broadband, policy and the digital divide. She hosts The Divide on the Light Reading Podcast and tracks broadband builds in The Buildout column. Some* call her the Broadband Broad (*nobody).

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