The Buildout: News from altafiber, Charter, Lumen and moreThe Buildout: News from altafiber, Charter, Lumen and more
This week in broadband builds: Charter charts progress in Indiana; GPC to reach 20,000 with E-ACAM funds; altafiber expands in Ohio; Lumen gets $400 million in California for middle mile fiber.
October 27, 2023
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking new fiber builds and service launches reaching over 110,000 locations across the US. Send us your news here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
Charter's Spectrum announced "considerable progress" on its network build in Wayne County, Indiana. The build is part of the company's $5 billion investment in the rural US, with over $1 billion from the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). In Wayne County, Spectrum is building out to 4,200 locations and has launched services for roughly 750 homes and businesses. In addition to RDOF funding, the company received $500,000 in state broadband grants and said it has connected an additional 835 Wayne County locations with those funds. Separately this week, Spectrum received grant funding from North Carolina's Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) program for an $11.9 million project to connect 1,500 homes and businesses. The state awarded the company $4 million, and Spectrum will contribute $7.9 million. Charter also announced the company completed a 3.1 mile fiber build in Red Hook, New York. Charter funded the $141,000 project and said the network will "immediately" provide broadband connection for 35 homes.
Great Plains Communications (GPC) announced that it will accept funds through the FCC's Enhanced Alternative Connect America Model (E-ACAM) program to bring fiber broadband to 20,000 locations in Nebraska and Southeast Indiana. Funds will be distributed beginning in 2024, with construction projected for completion by the end of 2028. The FCC recently updated the ACAM program to raise the required speed minimum to 100/20 Mbit/s, bringing it in line with other new federal broadband programs.
Cincinnati Bell's altafiber announced this week that it will expand to an additional 65,000 homes and businesses throughout multiple cities and counties in Ohio, as well as Indiana, in 2024. In a press release, the company said this is part of altafiber's "opportunistic edge-out strategy," through which it aims to expand its XGS-PON fiber network to 400,000 homes "outside of its incumbent territories."
The state of California awarded $400 million to Lumen to build out middle mile connectivity. In a press release, Lumen said the project is a "multi-billion dollar network investment to bring equitable, high-speed fiber broadband service to Californians." The company added that the public-private partnership will "bring open-access, middle-mile connectivity by Lumen to hundreds of California communities by the end of 2026, paving the way for last mile readiness." California passed legislation in 2021 that established a $6 billion fund for broadband infrastructure, including $3.25 billion for a statewide open access, middle mile network. Construction on the middle mile network began last year. In addition to Lumen, the state previously announced Utopia Fiber as a partner on the middle mile network. According to the California Department of Technology, design and construction of the middle mile network is overseen by the Middle Mile Advisory Committee (MMAC) with input from consultant GoldenStateNet.
Clearwave Fiber announced it is "ahead of schedule" on its fiber construction in Salina, Kansas. The network expansion is expected to connect 18,000 locations by 2025 and thus far has delivered service to roughly 6,000 homes and businesses, according to the company. 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. Last week, the company announced plans to build a fiber network across Florida's Space Coast.
Mediacom announced it completed construction on two fiber network expansion projects in the rural communities of Rutland and Williams, Iowa. In a press release, the company said this wraps up its commitments as part of round seven funding of the Empower Iowa Rural Broadband Grant Program, through which Mediacom has invested $4.4 million collectively with state funds, to reach over 1,600 homes and businesses.
Comcast announced that it has expanded its broadband network in Twin City, Georgia. In a press release, the company said that "more than 700 underserved homes and businesses" in the region can now receive its Xfinity services.
GoNetspeed announced that its fiber broadband service is available for "many" locations in Plymouth, Connecticut, where the company has invested $1.5 million to ultimately reach 2,700 homes and businesses. GoNetspeed, which has backing from Oak Hill Capital, provided full funding for this project and said it will "soon" reach completion. GoNetspeed is active in more than 30 communities in Connecticut, according to a press release.
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