The Buildout: Service launches from Comcast, Comporium, Lumos and moreThe Buildout: Service launches from Comcast, Comporium, Lumos and more
This week in broadband builds: New networks and construction from Comcast in Mississippi, Comporium in South Carolina, Lumos in Virginia, TDS in Georgia, Wire 3 in Florida and more.
October 13, 2023
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking new construction and service launches reaching roughly 100,000 locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
Comcast launched services for "more than 800 underserved homes and businesses" in Pelahatchie, Mississippi, according to a press release. The community can now access Comcast's Xfinity 10G Network, which advertises speeds up to 2 Gbit/s. Comcast is building out in Mississippi and elsewhere in the Southeast with a mix of private and public funding.
Comporium has launched services for residents "in a large portion of northeastern Lancaster County," in South Carolina, according to a press release. The launch follows a $3 million investment, through combined public and private funding, to deliver fiber broadband to over 850 rural homes and businesses. State records show Comporium received $819,425 through South Carolina's Rural Broadband Grant Program (RBGP) for work in Lancaster County.
Lumos has launched its fiber network in Crozet, Virginia, completing a project it started construction on in June 2022. According to a press release, the company deployed 60 miles of fiber to provide broadband to more than 2,000 households. Back in August, to support its build plans, Lumos announced a $1.1 billion financing partnership with investment firm EQT that it described as "sustainability-linked infrastructure financing to fund its ambitious fiber roll-out plans and refinance existing indebtedness."
TDS completed construction on its fiber network in Blue Ridge, Georgia, making service available to 1,700 homes and businesses. The first customers in the Blue Ridge region started receiving service from TDS late last year. The company is offering symmetrical speeds up to 1 Gbit/s for residents and up to 10 Gbit/s for businesses; as well as symmetrical speeds up to 200 Mbit/s for its TDS Connect service that is "fully covered" by the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), according to a press release.
LiveOak Fiber announced that it will invest $40 million to extend fiber broadband to cities in Walton County, Florida. According to a press release, early engineering and fielding work has begun, with additional progress updates expected "over the coming months." Walton County currently hosts a mix of broadband service providers delivering partial coverage, including Lumen and T-Mobile which each serve under 70% of the region, according to FCC data.
Also in Florida, Metronet has launched services in initial construction areas for residents in Port Orange, located in Volusia County. According to the latest census data, Port Orange claims roughly 27,000 households. Metronet kicked off work in Volusia County last summer but has struggled with local authorities over the company damaging underground city utilities during construction, according to local reports (subscription required). Metronet, which is funded by Oak Hill Capital and KKR, is building out fiber networks in multiple states and recently announced the appointment of a new executive team.
For a Florida trifecta, Wire 3 – a provider in Central Florida that advertises speeds up to 10 Gbit/s – said it will deliver broadband service to the towns of Palm Bay and Melbourne, as well as surrounding neighborhoods. Both Palm Bay and Melbourne are located in Brevard County, where Wire 3 said it expects to invest $150 million building out access to its fiber network. According to census data, Palm Bay and Melbourne have a combined household reach of over 76,000. In a press release, Wire 3 said the "construction process will begin in the coming months." Wire 3 announced in December 2021 that it received a "significant equity investment" via asset management firm Guggenheim Investments in order to accelerate its fiber deployment in the Florida counties of Brevard and Volusia.
GoNetspeed announced it will begin construction "in the coming weeks" on a fiber network in Camden, Maine. The company will invest $1.5 million to deliver connectivity to 2,000 of the town’s homes and businesses. GoNetspeed, which is financed by Oak Hill Capital, said it will deliver service in the region by the end of 2023.
Charter/Spectrum announced service launches in North Carolina this week, stemming from the company's $1 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) commitment. In Person County, North Carolina, the company launched services for more than 400 homes and small businesses, plus 265 homes and businesses in Hoke County. Spectrum further announced it will soon launch services in Vinton County, Ohio, another region in its RDOF territory, to connect an estimated 3,210 rural and previously unserved locations.
Kajeet announced a partnership to install broadband infrastructure for residences in the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake in California. According to a press release, the company will start network construction early next year, and deployment is projected by mid-2024. The Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake was awarded a $500,000 grant through the NTIA's Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) in June to connect tribal and non-tribal households to a wireless broadband network.
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