The Buildout: New construction from Spectrum, TDS, GoNetspeedThe Buildout: New construction from Spectrum, TDS, GoNetspeed
This week in broadband builds: Spectrum RDOF construction, GoNetspeed launches in two New York towns, Comcast expands in Florida, TDS wins in Wisconsin and more.
May 26, 2023
The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking new construction and service launches reaching over 77,000 locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
Spectrum announced more progress on its rural fiber buildouts this week, as part of its $1 billion award from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) and a $5 billion investment overall. In South Carolina, Spectrum announced it launched services for more than 2,740 homes and businesses in Williamsburg County. In Michigan, the company turned on broadband services for 800 homes and small businesses in Wexford Country, plus 200 homes and businesses in Saginaw County. And in Indiana, Spectrum announced plans to start construction in Jefferson County in June 2023 to bring broadband to more than 1,400 unserved homes and businesses.
TDS Telecom started fiber network construction in Evansville, Wisconsin, this week, and will "soon" start building in Milton, Wisconsin. The new network is expected to reach 2,900 addresses in Evansville and 2,700 in Milton with gigabit services. According to a press release, TDS is investing "nearly a billion dollars in Wisconsin fiber-optic expansion."
Sticking with Wisconsin, the state's Public Service Commission awarded $16.6 million for 24 broadband projects that will expand access to 6,042 underserved residences and 276 underserved businesses across 19 counties. Along with the grants, the projects require over $25 million in matching funds from providers. Among the winners were Spectrum ($2.4 million, with a $3.7 million match requirement) and TDS Telecom ($1.5 million grant, with a $6.2 million match requirement), as well as local telcos and electric cooperatives. Fiber provider Norvado also picked up grants for three projects, for a total of $1.5 million in awards and $1.5 million in required matching funds. Grant funding for Wisconsin's Broadband Expansion Grant Program comes from remaining state broadband funds from the 2021-2023 biennial budget period, according to a press release.
Comcast announced plans to expand its Xfinity 10G network to Arcadia, Florida, and surrounding areas to connect over 10,000 homes and businesses. According to a press release, Comcast will complete its network expansion by the end of summer 2023.
GoNetspeed announced that an additional 10,000 residents in the regions of Depew and Lancaster in Buffalo, New York, now have access to the ISP's fiber broadband service. Also this week, GoNetspeed announced a $3.6 million investment in Easthampton, Massachusetts, with construction set to start this fall to bring fiber broadband to more than 9,000 homes and businesses. The first customers are expected to get service in early 2024, said the company. GoNetspeed has support from Oak Hill Capital to build out in the northeast US.
Metronet has launched services this week in its initial construction areas in Colorado Springs, Colorado, after starting construction in August 2022. The $130 million buildout is privately funded; Metronet has backing from Oak Hill Capital and KKR. Separately this week, Metronet also announced that it started construction in Kentwood and Portage, Michigan, with the first customers in both regions to be connected this summer.
Lumos announced plans to invest $50 million to build out nearly 600 miles of fiber in Johnston and Harnett Counties, North Carolina. In a press release, Lumos said the news marks its fourth and fifth new market announcements for 2023. Engineering work is expected to begin this year.
Google Fiber will build out in Franklin, Tennessee, a city southeast of Nashville with 80,000 residents. According to a press release from the city, the company will start construction early next year, with plans to provide service by late 2024. The news follows another recent announcement that Google Fiber will expand in Logan, Utah, among several other locations.
The NTIA this week awarded $4.5 million through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program (TBCP) for a mix of broadband infrastructure deployment and planning efforts. Among the winners for deployment efforts include Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas ($500,000) to "replace end of life and/or damaged fiber strands within an existing broadband network fiber ring," as well as the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde Community of Oregon ($500,000) to build a fixed wireless network connecting 200 unserved homes. Other deployment project winners were Fort Sill Apache Tribe in Oklahoma ($500,000) to deploy wireless infrastructure, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians ($500,000) for initial deployment work, Santee Sioux Nation in Nebraska ($500,000) to deploy 40 2.5GHz channels for wireless service, the Habematolel Pomo of Upper Lake in California ($500,000) for middle mile fiber, and Native Village of Chenega in Alaska ($500,000) to deliver broadband through existing infrastructure and fiber construction.
Sky Fiber, an ISP based in Reno, Nevada, partnered with Tarana Wireless to upgrade networks in Lake Tahoe, and 25 towns in northern Nevada, bringing better broadband to 30,000 rural homes and businesses. According to a press release, Tarana's G1 platform enabled Sky Fiber to up its service offerings from 50 Mbit/s to a range of 50 to 500 Mbit/s.
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