The Buildout: New York awarded $100M to connect 100,000
News Analysis Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading 3/31/2023
This week in broadband builds: New York gets $100 million to connect affordable housing, Alaska Communications expands, New Mexico awards four providers $17 million – and more.
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking new fiber and fixed wireless builds and cable connections reaching roughly 160,000 locations in the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
- New York was awarded $100 million through the US Treasury Department's capital projects fund. The funding will cover broadband deployment to roughly 100,000 homes or 6% of the state's unserved locations. A fact sheet about the award confirmed the funding will be dispersed through New York's Affordable Housing Connectivity Program, which is "a competitive grant program designed to fund high-speed, reliable broadband infrastructure to and within low-income housing buildings," according to a press release.
- Alaska Communications will "significantly" expand its footprint in the state to reach an additional 14,000 locations in Anchorage and Fairbanks this year, the company confirmed this week. Alaska Communications, an affiliate of ATN International, first launched a fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network as a pilot last year. The company is also embarking on a three-phase project called Alaska FiberOptic, in collaboration with native corporations of Calista, Doyon and Gana-A'Yoo, which will connect up to 20 communities along the Yukon and Kuskokwim Rivers with fiber. The entities were thus far awarded over $100 million through the NTIA's Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) for that project, to reach 3,548 unserved households with fiber.
- WideOpenWest (WOW) shared an update on its Florida network build this week. The company said its construction in central Florida, which is part of its overall effort to pass 400,000 homes in new service areas by 2027, is "well underway and nearing completion" in the communities of Casselberry, Forest City and Wekiwa Springs.
- The state of New Mexico awarded $17 million through its Connect New Mexico Pilot Program, with funding it received from the US Treasury's capital projects fund. The four projects awarded will deliver broadband connectivity to over 2,500 premises across ten rural communities, including 80% unserved locations and 20% underserved. Awardees include SWC Telesolutions ($1.04 million) to reach 435 locations with fixed wireless; Tularosa Communications ($7.4 million) to reach 1048 locations with fiber; Western New Mexico Telephone Company ($5.1 million) to reach 221 locations with fiber and Ethernet radio backhaul; and Valley TeleCom Group ($3.7 million) to reach 822 locations with fiber. The total project cost, according to a press release, is $24.5 million comprising $17.3 million in grants and $7.2 million in matching contributions.
- GoNetspeed announced this week that it will start construction this spring to build a fiber network in the regions of Waterville and Winslow, Maine. The company, which has backing from Oak Hill Capital, will invest $4 million to reach more than 7,200 locations across both regions, with service to start going live this summer. GoNetspeed's fiber networks offer speeds ranging from 250 Mbit/s to 1 Gbit/s, according to the company.
- Lumos said it will invest $60 million to build out an additional 706 miles of fiber to reach Spartanburg County, South Carolina. As Lumos notes in a press release, this expansion follows the company's investment of $100 million to build fiber in Richland and Lexington counties.
- Roanoke Connect, the broadband arm of Roanoke Electric Cooperative in North Carolina, will expand its fiber broadband services to over 4,033 homes and businesses in East Northampton County, the company said this week. Roanoke Connect is offering speeds up to 1 Gbit/s. In addition to Northampton County, Roanoke Connect had announced it was starting new fiber construction late last year to reach Bertie and Gates Counties and the town of Halifax.
- Missouri's Ozark Fiber has started construction in the city of Lebanon to deliver the city's first FTTH network. In a press release, the company said it expects "phase 1" of construction, which will reach "nearly all" of the city, to be complete by the first quarter of 2024. Ozark Fiber said it will initially offer residential speeds up to 2 Gbit/s and will offer up to 10 Gbit/s "in the future."
- Empire Access, which recently announced fiber construction plans for Cortland, New York, added to its northeast buildout plans this week. The company said it will construct a fiber broadband network in Carbondale, Pennsylvania, in addition to the previously announced nearby regions of Scranton and Williamsport. Empire Access said it expects construction will be complete on the Carbondale network in fall of 2023.
- Mid-Hudson Cablevision, which provides broadband services in the Upstate New York counties of Greene, Columbia and Southern Albany, announced that it has "substantially upgraded" its fiber network throughout its service areas in those regions. According to a press release, the company – which has 30,000 subscribers – described the full-fiber network upgrade as a self-funded "multimillion-dollar construction project."
— Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.
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