The Buildout: Mississippi, North Carolina award millions for broadband

This week in broadband builds: Large and small providers pick up grants in Mississippi and North Carolina; Ziply Fiber expands in Montana; Spectrum launches services in additional RDOF regions – and more.

Nicole Ferraro, Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast

June 21, 2024

4 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 construction, grants and service launches reaching over 106,000 locations across the US. Send us your news at [email protected]. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

  • The state of Mississippi approved $70.9 million in grants for 24 broadband infrastructure projects in 19 counties. Funding comes from the US Treasury Department's capital projects fund, via the American Rescue Plan, and will help connect 27,000 households. Grant recipients include: Comcast (five counties), AT&T (four counties), Conexon (four counties), C Spire (two counties, with AT&T) and Swyft Connect (two counties). Delta Fiber, Uplink, DE Fastlink (the broadband arm of Dixie Electric) and Franklin Telephone were each awarded for one county. As per Treasury Department guidelines, projects must be completed by December 31, 2026. The state did not specify how much funding went to each provider. Mississippi expects to approve more broadband grants "on a rolling basis throughout the summer."

  • North Carolina, too, approved millions for broadband deployment this week. The state announced $67 million in approved projects, awarded through the state's Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program. The state will provide $35 million in American Rescue Plan funds, with $16 million coming from the counties and $16 million from providers, said a press release. The broadband projects will connect 15,835 households and businesses in 15 counties. Funding per provider was not specified by the state, but Brightspeed, which was awarded for six counties, announced in a press release that it received $22.5 million. Other awarded providers include: Windstream (two counties); Charter (two counties); Focus Broadband (two counties) and local provider Skyrunner (two counties). SkyBest Communications, a local fiber provider, also received funds for one county.

  • Ziply Fiber announced its expansion throughout the cities of Billings and Great Falls, Montana. According to a press release, Ziply is currently conducting installations in Billings. Installations will begin in Great Falls "next week." Ziply plans to reach 19,000 homes and businesses in Billings, and 10,000 in Great Falls. Elsewhere in Montana, Ziply is also building out to reach 26,000 addresses in the regions of Missoula, Helena and Butte "in the next few months." Ziply Fiber has investment funding from firms including WaveDivision Capital, Searchlight, PSP Investments, BCI and CPP Investments.

  • Comcast will partner with West Virginia's Monongalia County on a $17.8 million broadband infrastructure project to deliver service to unserved areas throughout the county. Funding for the project comes from the American Rescue Plan ($5.98 million), with Comcast providing $11.8 million. According to local reporting, the partnership is the culmination of a lengthy selection process in which Comcast and Frontier each bid for funds.

  • Comporium has connected more addresses in Ridge Spring, South Carolina, in Saluda County. This week, the company said it connected an additional 174 addresses on the northern side of the community, where it invested nearly $292,000. The announcement follows last month's expansion to 58 addresses along the southern side of Ridge Spring, where Comporium invested $155,000. Comporium is building out elsewhere in South Carolina with funding from the American Rescue Plan. Its projects in Ridge Spring put it in the region with Charter/Spectrum, which was awarded grant funding to connect unserved homes and businesses in the town.

[Ed. note: The Buildout will be on hiatus next week and will return on Friday, July 5.]

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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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