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The Buildout: Frontier hits 5M with fiber, NTIA awards $73M for tribal broadband

This week in broadband builds: Frontier reaches 5 million with fiber network, NTIA awards tribal broadband grants, Spectrum's RDOF build live in parts of 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 over 5 million locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

  • Frontier Communications announced today that its fiber network now reaches 5 million locations. The company started its fiber build in 2020 and aims to reach 10 million locations by the end of 2025. Frontier has been accelerating its fiber build and earlier this year raised its 2022 target from 1 million to 1.1 million-1.2 million new fiber locations for the year. According to its recent Q3 results, Frontier built FTTP to a record 351,000 passings in the quarter. It also added a record 64,000 fiber subscribers, bringing total fiber subscribers to 1.5 million.

(Source: dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo)
(Source: dpa picture alliance/Alamy Stock Photo)

  • The NTIA on Wednesday announced $73 million in broadband awards to nine tribal entities through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP). In a press release, the NTIA said the awarded projects will "directly connect 3,107 unserved Native American households that previously had no connectivity to high-speed Internet as well as businesses and anchor institutions. Additionally, the nine grants will create 49 new jobs." The grants are going toward fiber and fixed wireless projects for tribes in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington. The Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program is a nearly $3 billion grant program funded by the Biden administration. Thus far, NTIA has awarded $1.655 billion to 121 tribal entities and will continue making awards "on a rolling basis."
  • Charter Communications Spectrum services are now live for roughly 1,500 homes and small businesses in parts of Oconto County, Wisconsin, including the towns of: Brazeau, Lena, Little River, Oconto, Oconto Falls, Pound, Spruce and Stiles. The build is part of Spectrum's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) commitments to connect roughly 1 million locations across 24 states. Spectrum representatives also joined the governor of Alabama and other local legislators this week to celebrate its buildout in Walker County, funded with RDOF dollars and $4.95 million in state grants, slated to reach 6,500 homes and businesses. (See The Buildout: Charter, Comcast get millions in Alabama, NTIA awards $280M to tribes, Vexus in Texas.)
  • Bluepeak announced plans this week to build a fiber network in the city of Yukon, Oklahoma, after signing a franchise agreement with the city. The company will invest roughly $10 million to connect 10,000 homes and businesses in the area. Bluepeak is currently expanding in areas across Oklahoma, as well as Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota.


Related: The Divide: How Bluepeak is bringing broadband competition to overlooked cities


  • Regional provider Visionary Broadband, delivering Internet service via a hybrid fiber and fixed wireless network, is committing $100 million to build out fiber-to-the-premises in 20 communities across Colorado, Montana and Wyoming. Construction is already underway, with some communities set to go live in early 2023. Visionary, around since 1994, is installing XGS-PON across its network to offer symmetrical gigabit service. Earlier this summer, Visionary received funding for its fiber builds through private equity firm GTCR. The company said it has also secured federal, state and local grants for broadband projects in parts of Colorado and Wyoming.
  • Cogeco subsidiary Breezeline announced it is expanding to Durham, New Hampshire, with fiber services expected to go live in January 2023. The Durham rollout follows Breezeline's fiber expansion to more than 15,000 homes and businesses in Somersworth, Dover, Madbury and Concord, New Hampshire, earlier this year.
  • Metronet turned up speeds on its network for communities in Iowa, including Ankeny, Clive, Grimes, Hampton, Iowa City, Jewell, Johnston, Mason City, Sheffield and Urbandale. Residents can now access symmetrical speeds up to 2 Gbit/s and businesses up to 10 Gbit/s. The Evansville, Indiana-based company said in a press release it will bump up speeds for other communities across its 16-state footprint "in the coming months."

Related:

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

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