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This week in broadband builds: Comcast and others win in Idaho; Vexus grows in Texas; Cable One's Clearwave progresses in Florida; Utopia launches in Syracuse, Utah – and much more.
December 8, 2023
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking new fiber construction and service launches reaching over 65,000 locations across the US. Send us your news here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
The state of Idaho awarded $120 million through the Idaho Capital Projects Fund (CPF) to 18 broadband projects, connecting over 30,000 homes and businesses. Funding went to several counties, as well as service providers including Ziply ($11.3 million for two projects), Comcast ($9 million) and MiFiber ($6.2 million). Idaho was awarded $120 million from the US Treasury Department for broadband, via the American Rescue Plan, in May. According to a fact sheet about that funding, the grant program – administered by the Idaho Broadband Advisory Board (IBAB) – requires speeds of 100/100 Mbit/s once complete.
Vexus Fiber has started construction in Denison, Texas, to deliver fiber broadband to more than 12,000 homes and businesses. The company, which merged with Metronet and is funded by Oak Hill Capital, said it will start installations in some areas in the next 90 days, with the full project expected to be completed in 12-18 months. Separately this week, Vexus launched services to "phase one" of its network in Albuquerque, New Mexico, after starting construction in March. According to a press release, Vexus is investing $250 million to build out the entire city by 2028, with 3,000 homes and businesses expected to gain access by the end of this year.
Utopia Fiber completed its fiber-to-the-home build in Syracuse, Utah, reaching 12,324 residential addresses. Construction on the $23.5 million project began in November 2021, and the first homes were connected in September 2022. The network was officially completed in September 2023 and, as of the end of November "already has a 15.61% subscriber rate," according to a press release. Syracuse marks Utopia's fourth completed build in 2023, and the 17th city in its network.
Clearwave Fiber announced "significant progress" on its fiber build in Lake City, Florida, with roughly 4,000 homes and businesses now connected to the network. Ultimately, the Lake City network will provide access to 8,000 homes and businesses, according to a press release. Clearwave Fiber is the fiber broadband arm of Cable One, formed in 2022 in a joint venture with private equity and investment firms GTCR, Stephens Capital Partners and the Pritzker Organization.
TDS announced that it is upgrading its network to fiber in Blanchardville, Wisconsin, where the company has delivered services for 27 years. In a press release, TDS said it expects to launch next spring, and that the network will "benefit about 500 Blanchardville addresses."
Lumos this week started construction on its fiber buildout in Clayton, North Carolina, in partnership with the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. According to a press release, the project – part of a $50 million build across Johnston and Harnett Counties – will bring fiber broadband to "thousands of homes and small businesses" in Clayton. Lumos has financial support from investment firm EQT.
Consolidated announced this week that its Fidium Fiber service has been expanded to 14,600 additional homes and businesses in Pennsylvania in 2023, following the completion of its fiber network in Allegheny, Armstrong and Butler counties. Work has been ongoing since 2021. According to a press release, Fidium Fiber doubled its footprint in the state this year and is now available to 28,000 homes and businesses. Consolidated, which is in the process of being acquired by Searchlight and BCI for $3.1 billion, has been pursuing a fiber upgrade strategy across its network but has slowed the pace of its buildout multiple times.
Spectrum this week launched services for nearly 1,000 homes and small businesses in Gates County, North Carolina and for 800 homes and businesses in Wayne County, North Carolina. The company also launched services for more than 600 additional homes and small businesses last week in areas of Cass County, Missouri. All three network builds are part of the company's $5 billion multiyear investment in the rural US, including $1 billion awarded through the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).
GoNetspeed said it expects to complete construction on its fiber network build in Lisbon, Maine, by the end of this winter. According to the company, which is investing $1.8 million, the new network will deliver broadband to over 2,200 residents and businesses beginning in early 2024. GoNetspeed is building out in multiple states in partnership with Oak Hill Capital.
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