The Buildout: NTIA awards $25.7M for tribal broadband, altafiber expands in Ohio
News Analysis Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading 3/24/2023
This week in broadband builds: NTIA awards tribal broadband funding; altafiber to build in Warren County, Ohio; TDS grows in Wisconsin; NYC expands Big Apple Connect – and more.
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking new fiber builds and cable connections reaching over 310,000 locations in the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
- The NTIA awarded $25.7 million through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) to two tribes: the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota ($11.4 million) and the Pueblo of Acoma in New Mexico ($14.3 million) to connect a total of 1,549 locations. According to a press release, the Mille Lacs Band will install fiber directly to 356 unserved households, seven businesses and ten community anchor institutions with service ranging from 250/250 Mbit/s to 1000/1000 Mbit/s. The Pueblo of Acoma will install fiber directly to 1,167 unserved households and anchor institutions with a minimum of 25/3 Mbit/s service.
- New York City announced this week that its Big Apple Connect program will expand to reach roughly 300,000 residents of public housing. Big Apple Connect is a partnership between the city and cable incumbents Altice and Charter to deliver free broadband to New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) buildings. The city has entered into three-year agreements with the service providers. The Big Apple Connect program was announced last year, after Mayor Eric Adams sidelined the city's Internet Master Plan. With this latest announcement, the city is expanding the program to an additional 67 NYCHA buildings to reach 202 in total. NYCHA, the largest public housing agency in the country, is home to 335 housing developments and 177,000 apartments.
- Verizon announced that its Fios network is now available to almost 2,000 locations in the Delaware regions of Camden, Dover, Smyrna, Bridgeville and Ocean View. The network is being funded with over $6 million from Delaware's American Rescue Plan funds. In a press release, Verizon said it's also expanding its fixed-wireless service in parts of Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.
- A new partnership between altafiber and Warren County, Ohio, will see Cincinnati Bell's altafiber build a fiber network to roughly 52,000 residences, including 50,000 single-family homes and 2,000 multi-dwelling units. The project, the company's sixth public-private partnership, is funded by a $100 million investment from altafiber, with the county contributing an additional $4.8 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan. The construction project is expected to take 36-48 months. In a press release, the company said its smart city division UniCity will contribute "up to $200,000 in funding to construct public Wi-Fi improvements."
- TDS Telecommunications will build a full-fiber network to 10,000 homes and businesses in Marshfield and Hewitt, Wisconsin. The buildout is part of TDS' investment of roughly $1 billion to expand its fiber footprint in Wisconsin. The network will be capable of delivering up to 8 Gbit/s for homes and up to 10 Gibt/s for businesses, said TDS. The company will also offer a 200/200 Mbit/s TDS Connect lower-cost plan that is fully covered by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a monthly broadband subsidy of $30 to qualifying low-income households.
- Ting Internet announced a partnership with digital infrastructure firm Ubiquity to expand its fiber broadband to Carlsbad, California, and Mesa, Arizona. According to a press release, this is the continuation of a partnership between Ting and Ubiquity that began in 2019. The new construction, which began earlier this year, will continue for the "next few years" and will ultimately create "150,000 available fiber addresses across both markets over the build term," said the companies.
- Earlier this week, Bluepeak announced it reached an agreement with the city of Norman, Oklahoma, to build a fiber network to roughly 55,000 homes and businesses. The project will see Bluepeak invest $55 million in the community, making the company's investment in Norman its largest in a single market outside of South Dakota, Bluepeak said in a press release.
- Valley Electric Association, an electric cooperative in Pahrump, Nevada, has recently partnered with Conexon to deliver a fiber broadband network to the co-op's membership. Service will come from the co-op's broadband arm, Valley Communications Association. Construction is set to begin, with initial customers expected to be connected this fall. The full project will take three years to complete. According to a press release, the network will cover 4,300 miles of Valley Electric line and will "ultimately be available for all members." Those who are getting existing broadband service will be "transitioned to the FTTH network as construction reaches their area."
— Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.
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