The Buildout: Surf Internet rides fiber wave into Indiana; Ziply starts 100th new build
News Analysis Nicole Ferraro, Editor, Light Reading 3/17/2023
This week in broadband builds: Surf Internet starts construction in Indiana; Ziply expands in Washington; Kinetic network live in North Carolina; Glo Fiber's plans for Pennsylvania – and more.
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking fiber builds reaching over 130,000 locations in the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
- Surf Internet announced that it started construction on a 250-mile fiber network in northern Indiana. The buildout is being funded with $6 million in grants via Indiana's Next Level Connections (NLC) Broadband Grant Program, funded through the American Rescue Plan's capital projects fund, in a round of awards announced in January. Surf Internet is also contributing $3.6 million in matching funds to the project. According to a press release, this construction represents "the largest fiber-optic infrastructure project in northern Indiana to specifically address underserved communities." Construction is beginning in Elkhart County and will later continue in the counties of La Porte and Newton, ultimately wrapping up in 2024. In total, the new network is designed to reach 1,544 homes, businesses and anchor institutions.
- Ziply Fiber started construction on its hundredth full-fiber buildout, with a new network in Yakima, Washington, said the company in a press release. The new network will ultimately service "tens of thousands of addresses" in the region, said Ziply. The company, which services parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana, is investing "hundreds of millions of dollars" to build out fiber across the Northwest.
- GoNetspeed's fiber network is officially available to 5,576 homes and businesses in the south end of New Britain, Connecticut. The $10 million buildout is a partnership between GoNetspeed – which has backing from Oak Hill Capital – and the city, which contributed funding from the American Rescue Plan. The company is continuing construction and said in a press release that service will become available to homes and businesses in other parts of the city in "the coming weeks." As part of the arrangement, municipal buildings and traffic points "will be interconnected on their own private fiber network," said GoNetspeed.
- Highline finished construction on portions of its network in the Upper Peninsula and Thumb regions of Michigan, reaching an additional 13,500 homes. According to the company, it is targeting an additional 17,880 homes in Michigan. Highline currently delivers broadband service to homes and businesses throughout Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska and Texas.
- Shentel's Glo Fiber will deploy a fiber network to State College Borough and Ferguson Township, in Centre County, Pennsylvania, after reaching agreements with the municipality. The buildout will see Glo Fiber deliver fiber to over 13,000 homes and businesses. Construction will begin next year and is estimated to take 18 to 24 months.
- Ting has launched initial services in Alexandria, Virginia, after starting construction on its fiber network there in September 2022. In a press release, Ting said it is building its network using microtrenching and ultimately plans to reach over 90,000 addresses by 2025. The company said it will offer "gigabit symmetrical Internet to all Alexandria residents who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) at no cost to them—this includes 4,000 affordable housing units as part of Ting's agreement with the City of Alexandria."
- As part of Spectrum's $5 billion rural buildout, including its $1 billion commitment in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards, the company launched services in multiple counties in western North Carolina this week. That includes more than 1,000 homes and businesses in the rural counties of Buncombe, Henderson and Polk. In a press release, Spectrum said more "homes and businesses in rural Western North Carolina will be connected through Spectrum’s RDOF expansion in the coming months."
- Kinetic announced this week that 2,200 locations in New London, North Carolina, or half the region, now have access to its fiber network. The New London build is part of Kinetic's $2 billion multi-year investment across its 18-state footprint, including $21 million the company has invested in North Carolina since 2018 to connect 75,000 locations to gigabit speeds. The New London news follows last week's announcement of Kinetic's network launch in parts of Pennsylvania.
- Also in North Carolina, the town of Hillsborough announced that Google Fiber will build out its fiber network in and around the region. According to a press release, installation is likely to begin in April and "advance rapidly over the next year." The town further confirmed that this is a "private project owned and operated by Google Fiber and its subcontractors." The news of Google Fiber's work in Hillsborough follows announcements from the company in February that it will expand in parts of Arizona and Colorado.
- And in even more North Carolina news, Roanoke Connect, the fiber broadband arm of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, plans to build out a fiber network in the town of Halifax. The fiber expansion will bring broadband to more than 380 homes and businesses, according to a press release.
- Pavlov Media has completed a fiber build in Lavon, Texas. The network will initially deliver service to 1,900 households. Pavlov will continue construction to ultimately reach roughly 2,500 homes, the company said.
- Several other fiber providers announced construction plans and service launches without specifying reach or investment details. LiveOak Fiber is going live in Shalimar, Florida, the first county in the state to connect to its network, while Empire Access announced fiber construction plans for Cortland, New York, with construction expected to wrap up in the fall of 2023. Further, Vexus Fiber – which services parts of Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico – announced its fiber network is live in Nacogdoches, Texas. And in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, AT&T is expanding its fiber network to additional homes and businesses in Opelousas, according to local reports.
— Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "The Divide" on the Light Reading Podcast.
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