The Buildout: Consolidated wins $40M for New Hampshire network
News Analysis Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading 2/24/2023
This week in broadband builds: Consolidated to bring Fidium Fiber to 57,000 New Hampshire homes; Arkansas awards $53 million to ten ISPs; Treasury Department allocates $354.9 million for broadband – 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 over 265,000 locations in the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
- Consolidated Communications will start network construction to bring its Fidium Fiber service to more than 57,000 homes in New Hampshire, the company said this week. The news comes as the state's executive council unanimously approved the company's bid for a $40 million grant to build fiber to nearly 25,000 unserved homes. The grant is funded through New Hampshire's share of American Rescue Plan capital projects funds. In a press release, Consolidated said it will provide additional capital to reach another 32,000 homes, for a total of 57,000 homes across six counties. Network construction is expected to start by the end of 2023 and be mostly completed by the end of 2024.
- The Arkansas Department of Commerce this week awarded over $53 million to ten Internet service providers (ISPs) to expand broadband in eight underserved counties. According to local reports, the awarded $53 million in grants will be combined with $18.8 million in matching funds from providers, ultimately connecting an estimated 5,800 homes and businesses. Grant funding for these projects comes from the American Rescue Plan's Capital Projects Fund, through which Arkansas was allocated $158 million to distribute for broadband-related projects. The $53 million awarded in this round will go to the following ISPs: CableSouth Media ($7.92 million); NEXT, Powered by NAEC ($2.15 million); Ashley-Chicot Electric Cooperative ($6.62 million); South Central Connect ($1.68 million); Four States Fiber ($5.2 million); South Central Connect/Central Arkansas Telephone Cooperative ($4.58 million); Wave Rural Connect/Cox Communications ($14.25 million); and Connect2First Internet ($10.95 million).
- All West Communications will expand its fiber broadband service to North Ogden, Utah, the company said this week. The $16 million expansion, which All West said is privately funded, includes the construction of 113 miles of fiber, extending services to over 7,750 homes and businesses. Engineering work is underway and construction will start in March, said All West in a press release.
- Metronet has added East Moline, Illinois, to its list of "certified gigabit cities" now that the majority of households and businesses there can access its fiber network with symmetrical speeds of at least 1 Gbit/s. The company began network construction in East Moline in 2020 and has now installed over 90 miles of fiber, it said in a news release.
- GoNetspeed announced it has completed its $2.7 million fiber network construction in Wolcott, Connecticut, making services available to over 3,700 homes and businesses. GoNetspeed is building out fiber across the Northeast with backing from Oak Hill Capital.
- Maple Broadband – a non-profit communications union district (CUD) based in Addison County, Vermont – connected its first customers this week after starting fiber network construction last year. According to a press release, "Maple Broadband’s initial build area consists of 25.7 miles and 304 passings in the towns of Cornwall, Middlebury, and Salisbury. Nine customers were connected during its soft launch. 62 more people have already signed up for service and will be connected next." The CUD will build out an additional 100 miles of fiber this year. Maple Broadband was awarded an $8.69 million grant, funded through the American Rescue Plan, from the Vermont Community Broadband Board last year.
- Spectrum's rural rollouts continued in Louisiana this week, with services going live for more than 3,500 homes and businesses in Tangipahoa and Washington Parishes. The build is part of Spectrum's commitment through the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) through which it was awarded $1 billion to reach 1 million rural customers.
- Spokane County, Washington, approved $3 million in grant funding for Comcast and Ptera "to bring internet services to several rural parts of Spokane County as well as to address digital equity access in both rural and urban communities," said Spokane County in a press release. The funding comes from the county's share of American Rescue Plan funds for broadband. The approved projects will see Comcast build out hybrid fiber-coax services in the Chattaroy area of the county, while Ptera will deliver a mixed fiber and wireless broadband in the city of Medical Lake. In a press release, the county said it received "numerous" bids for this grant funding and that the Comcast and Ptera proposals scored highest amongst commissioners. In a separate announcement, Comcast confirmed it will receive $2.5 million from the county and will contribute $2.3 million to bring services to over 600 Chattaroy homes and businesses.
- The US Treasury Department this week approved $354.9 million to fund broadband projects in Arizona, Tennessee and Wyoming that will connect roughly 190,000 homes and businesses. The grants were awarded through the capital projects fund program in the American Rescue Plan. According to a press release: Arizona was approved to receive $99.4 million to connect an estimated 127,807 homes and businesses; Tennessee was approved for $185 million to connect an estimated 50,000 locations; and Wyoming was approved to receive $70.5 million to connect an estimated 11,700 locations. Each state will allocate funds through their individual grant programs.
— Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "The Divide" podcast.
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