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The Buildout: States award over $400M in broadband grants

This week in broadband builds: altafiber to start new Ohio construction; Kinetic kicks off public-private build in Georgia; Spectrum RDOF areas go live in North Carolina; Comcast wins in West Virginia – and more.

Nicole Ferraro

February 9, 2024

4 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 new construction, grants and service launches reaching over 83,000 locations across the US. Send us your news at [email protected]. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

  • In Ohio, altafiber (formerly known as Cincinnati Bell) will start construction this year to bring its XGS-PON fiber network to roughly 27,000 locations in the regions of Centerville, Washington Township and Kettering. Last year, altafiber announced that it raised $600 million for its fiber network construction in Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Hawaii (where it does business as Hawaiian Telcom). In a press release at the time, the company said those funds were raised by "existing investors, funds managed by Macquarie Asset Management, Ares Management, and supporting co-investors."

  • Windstream's Kinetic joined government officials in Lee County, Georgia, this week to kick off a $21 million public-private partnership through which Kinetic will build out fiber to more than 4,000 locations. Kinetic will invest $7.3 million, with Lee County contributing $12.5 million in state grant money, from the American Rescue Plan's Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program; plus $1.2 million in county matching funds. Construction is underway and will be completed "by the end of the year," according to a press release.

  • Charter Communications/Spectrum launched services in multiple North Carolina counties associated with its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) winnings. That includes Granville County, North Carolina, where Spectrum launched broadband service for 130 homes and businesses; as well as Pamlico County, North Carolina (100 homes and businesses) and Perquimans County, North Carolina (280 homes and businesses). Spectrum was awarded $1.2 billion through RDOF to deploy broadband in 24 states.

  • In Connecticut, GoNetspeed is launching services in initial construction areas in the town of Old Saybrook, after beginning construction in December 2023. The company, which is funded by Oak Hill Capital, is investing $3.6 million to ultimately bring broadband to 4,400 homes and businesses in Old Saybrook once construction is complete.

  • Roanoke Cooperative's fiber subsidiary Fybe this week confirmed its plans to expand its fiber network to over 14,620 homes and businesses in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The company first held a groundbreaking ceremony in Elizabeth City in August 2023, where it said it is investing $12 million to deploy fiber, according to local reports.

  • Three states announced over $400 million in broadband grants over the last week. First up: West Virginia announced $33 million in preliminary awards through Round 3 of the state's Line Extension Advancement and Development (LEAD) program this week. The funding went to four service providers for ten fiber projects connecting over 5,200 locations. Awarded providers include Armstrong Telecommunications ($13.1 million for three projects); Citynet, LLC ($7.5 million); Comcast ($10.3 million for three projects); and Spruce Knob Seneca Rocks Telephone ($1.9 million for three projects). Funding for the projects is being awarded through the West Virginia Broadband Development Fund, which includes funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) and state general revenue funds.

  • Alabama also awarded $188 million for middle mile projects this week. Grants, which were allocated from the state's share of federal ARPA funds, went to 12 service providers to install more than 4,000 miles of middle mile infrastructure, impacting 793 community anchor institutions. The awarded providers include: Central Alabama Electric Cooperative ($2.69 million; connecting 33 anchor institutions); Coosa Valley Technologies Inc. ($7 million; 17 anchor institutions); Cullman Electric Cooperative ($1.46 million; 15 anchor institutions); Farmers Telecommunications Corp. ($21.6 million; 189 anchor institutions); Alabama Fiber Network ($128.8 million; 438 anchor institutions); JMF Solutions ($6.3 million; 24 anchor institutions); Joe Wheeler Electric Membership Corp. ($5.25 million; 16 anchor institutions); Point Broadband ($411,341; 21 anchor institutions); Spectrum Southeast ($7.3 million; eight anchor institutions); Tombigbee Electric Cooperative ($757,479; 22 anchor institutions); Uniti Fiber ($4.2 million; four anchor institutions); and Yellowhammer Networks ($2.52 million; six anchor institutions).

  • And finally, Florida awarded nearly $223 million for broadband last Friday. That includes $135 million through the state's Broadband Opportunity Program – for which Florida's legislature approved $400 million for broadband expansion from its share of federal funds via the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds program – as well as $86 million in federal funds through the Multipurpose Community Facilities Program. The broadband infrastructure funding will go toward 54 projects, connecting 27,000 unserved locations in 33 counties. The state did not immediately disclose which service providers were awarded funding but has previously given grants to Charter, Comcast and Cox, in addition to local providers.

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The Buildout

About the Author(s)

Nicole Ferraro

Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast, Light Reading

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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