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The Buildout: Spectrum scoops up $24.1M in Indiana broadband grantsThe Buildout: Spectrum scoops up $24.1M in Indiana broadband grants

This week in broadband builds: Spectrum, Comcast, electric co-ops win in Indiana; Cox, AT&T win in Kansas; Kinetic connects 9K in Kentucky; GoNetspeed expands in Maine – and more.

Nicole Ferraro

January 20, 2023

5 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 fiber and wireless builds reaching over 107,000 locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

  • Indiana announced its third and final round of Next Level Connections grants, awarding $189 million to fund 154 broadband projects that plan to expand broadband access to 52,900 homes and businesses. All grant requests require a minimum 20% match from recipients. The largest grants in this round went to Spectrum ($24.1 million), which is putting up $20 million. Among the other grant recipients are AT&T ($3.6 million), Comcast ($13.6 million) and Frontier ($2.2 million), in addition to local companies like Craigville Telephone Company ($1.5 million) and electric cooperatives Heartland REMC ($13.7 million), Jasper County REMC ($15 million) and Johnson County REMC ($306,611). Indiana's Next Level Connections grant program was funded through the American Rescue Plan's Capital Projects Fund. According to the state, the program has now awarded a total of "$268 million across 83 counties to provide broadband access to more than 74,800 homes and commercial locations."

  • In addition to picking up a broadband grant in Indiana, Spectrum this week also announced that its services are live for more than 1,100 homes and businesses in Carroll County, Georgia; as well as 1,300 homes and businesses in Cumberland County, Tennessee, and 1,000 homes and businesses in Knox, Blount, Sevier and Jefferson Counties, Tennessee. Those builds are part of the company's $5 billion buildout in rural America, for which it was awarded $1 billion from the FCC's Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) to reach approximately 1 million customer locations across 24 states in the coming years.

  • The state of Kansas awarded $44.5 million to nine service providers this week to bring broadband to 18,468 locations in 15 underserved counties. According to a press release, this marks "the third and final award phase" of the Kansas Capital Project Funds (CPF) Broadband Infrastructure Program. The CPF contained a total of $83.5 million in federal funds and brought in $42 million in matching funds to connect over "24,500 homes, businesses, schools, health care facilities, and other public institutions." The nine providers awarded in the third and final round include AT&T ($2.2 million), Butler Rural Electric Cooperative Association ($9.8 million), Cox ($6.4 million), Cunningham Communications ($1.2 million), GBT Rural ($6.8 million), Iowa Tribe ($1.4 million), Mokan Dial ($5.6 million), Nex-Tech ($10.8 million) and WANRack ($400,000). The projects awarded include a mix of full fiber, wireless and cable technologies.

  • Representatives from Kinetic joined Kentucky state officials this week to announce that its fiber broadband service is now available to roughly 9,000 homes and businesses in Monticello and surrounding parts of Wayne County. In a press release, Kinetic said that the Wayne County project is part of its "$2 billion multiyear capital investment strategy to dramatically expand gigabit internet service across Kinetic's 18-state footprint." The company said it has invested nearly $300 million in Kentucky and as a result "either has or will have fiber in every county it serves in Kentucky over the next couple of years.

  • Full-fiber provider GoNetspeed announced that it completed construction of its $1.4 million fiber network in Topsham, Maine, making service available to the roughly 1,500 homes and businesses in the region. The company also completed construction on its network in Old Town Orono, Maine, for which it invested $3.3 million to bring broadband to 4,100 homes and businesses. GoNetspeed is available in roughly 15 Maine communities and counting, and in nine other states including Alabama, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia. GoNetspeed partnered with private equity firm Oak Hill Capital in January 2021 to fund its expansion across the Northeast US. Oak Hill Capital is also investing in other broadband providers including Greenlight Networks, Metronet, Omni Fiber, Race Communications and Vexus Fiber.

  • Speaking of Metronet, that company announced this week that its multi-gig fiber broadband service is now available to residents and businesses throughout Sioux City, Iowa. It also kicked off construction in Altamonte Springs, Florida, and surrounding areas. In a press release, Metronet called the Altamonte Springs project a "multimillion-dollar investment" and said construction will take two years, "with the first customers receiving service this spring."

  • IQ Fiber's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network is live in Orange Park, Florida. Construction began on the $18 million network in September 2022 and is "now serving its first customers," according to a press release. The news comes a month after IQ Fiber went live for residents in Atlantic Beach, Florida. The company is investing $45 million to expand its network across Clay County, Florida, which is its first deployment outside of Duval County, and aims to deliver fiber broadband to 60,000 homes across Northeast Florida during the first phase of deployment. IQ Fiber was launched in 2021 and is privately funded.

  • TDS Telecommunications has started construction on a fiber network in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, to bring broadband to roughly 3,800 addresses. The company said the network will be capable of delivering up to 8 Gbit/s and service "will become available neighborhood by neighborhood as construction is completed."

  • A group of service providers in Tennessee recently kicked off Project Unite: a collaboration between Middle Tennessee Electric and Duck River Electric, spearheaded by United Communications, which won over $53.4 million in state broadband grants last year, to bring broadband to approximately 14,000 underserved locations in eight Middle Tennessee counties. The total cost of the infrastructure project, supplemented with $10 million from local governments and $14 million from United Communications, is $77 million. It is the largest such investment in the state's history.

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The Buildout

About the Author(s)

Nicole Ferraro

Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast

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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