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This week in broadband builds: Maine awards $36.6 million to Consolidated and others; Kinetic starts construction in Georgia's Union County; plus service launches from Spectrum, Surf, WOW – and more.
December 15, 2023
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. In our final installment for the year, we're tracking new grants, construction and service launches reaching over 50,000 locations across the US. Send us your news here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
The Maine Connectivity Authority awarded $36.6 million in grants this week to expand broadband to more than 24,000 homes and businesses in 45 communities. Funding was distributed to four providers through both a last-mile and middle-mile program. The biggest winner, Consolidated won more than $10 million for four last-mile projects and $7.2 million for a middle-mile project. Other winners included Unitel/Direct Communications ($10 million) for last-mile buildout, and FirstLight ($5.6 million) and GWI ($2.9 million) for middle-mile projects. In addition to grant funds, providers will contribute over $25 million in matching funds.
Also in Maine this week, Consolidated announced its Fidium Fiber service is now available to 11,000 homes and businesses in the Madison-Skowhegan region. The build was funded with an $8.8 million state grant awarded to Consolidated early this year.
Spectrum this week launched services in counties in Virginia and North Carolina. In Southampton County, Virginia, the company launched services for more than 1,200 homes and businesses. And in Cleveland County, North Carolina, Spectrum services are now available for 230 homes and businesses. Both builds are part of Spectrum's $5 billion buildout in the rural US, including $1 billion awarded via the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).
Surf Internet announced that it connected its first customers to fiber in the communities of Lake Village and Kouts, Indiana. The network build is expected to ultimately deliver service to over 2,000 homes by 2024, with roughly 1,000 to be connected this year, said Surf in a press release. Surf Internet is investing $1 million in the project, in addition to a $600,000 Next Level Connections (NLC) grant it received from the state. Surf Internet also has funding from DigitalBridge, Bain Capital and Post Road Group.
WOW announced that it launched services for its first customers in the town of Mauldin, in Greenville County, South Carolina. The company previously announced plans to invest $30 million to bring fiber to more than 28,000 homes in the county and started construction earlier this year. The county is part of WOW's broader effort to reach 400,000 new homes passed in greenfield markets by 2027. Other neighborhoods under construction in Greenville County include Five Forks, Fountain Inn and Simpsonville, according to a press release.
Utopia Fiber has completed work on its $6.7 million fiber network in Santa Clara, Utah. The company started construction on the project in May 2022, and the first homes were connected in May 2023. The new network is available for 3,242 residential addresses and marks Utopia's fifth network completion in 2023 and 19th city overall, said the company.
Kinetic has started construction on a fiber network buildout in Union County, Georgia. The $20.5 million public-private partnership will bring broadband to 7,300 customer locations once complete next year, in addition to an existing 8,400 already serviceable locations in the county. The project is being funded with $11.2 million in state grant money from the American Rescue Plan, plus $500,000 in matching funds from the county and an $8.9 million investment from Kinetic.
TDS has made fiber services available to half of the customers in its project area in Niota, Tennessee. The company started construction on the build earlier this year and expects to connect its final addresses in January 2024. According to a press release, the Niota network will ultimately reach roughly 1,000 addresses. Also this week, TDS said it connected its 500th customer to its network in Socorro, New Mexico. Construction began on that fiber project in 2022.
Cityside Fiber – which is building out a fiber network in Orange County, California – has launched residential services for the first neighborhoods of Tustin and Dana Point. Construction began in those regions this past spring and summer, and Cityside Fiber will further expand in Orange County in 2024, "continuing with Lake Forest and North Tustin," according to a press release. Cityside Fiber launched in 2021 and was acquired by SDC Capital Partners in February.
Metronet has launched fiber services in initial construction areas in Le Roy, Illinois. Construction began on the network in August 2022. Metronet is building out fiber in multiple communities with funding from Oak Hill Capital and KKR.
Gateway Fiber has launched services for its first customers in Blaine and Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The company broke ground on the Anoka County network this fall and said it will launch services for "hundreds" of customers in the coming weeks. Started in 2019, Gateway Fiber was acquired by CBRE Investment Management earlier this year, ending its prior financial relationship with Crosstimbers Capital Group.
Read more about:The Buildout
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