September 15, 2023
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 280,000 locations across the US. Send us your news here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.
Glo Fiber – the fiber broadband arm of Shenandoah Telecommunications Company, or Shentel – has launched initial services in Waynesboro and Greencastle, Pennsylvania. The company, which started fiber network construction in the region earlier this year, said it expects to complete work in early 2024. The new network will make broadband service available to over 6,000 homes and businesses.
Altafiber (Cincinnati Bell) announced that its service is now available to all single-family homes and businesses in Boone County, Campbell County and Kenton County, Kentucky, with the exception of a small number of areas where the company is still "navigating issues such as railroad permits." Overall, the new network will deliver fiber broadband to more than 195,000 addresses. The project is a public-private partnership and includes funding from altafiber and the individual counties, with the counties contributing $28.9 million toward the $180 million buildout.
IQ Fiber has started construction on a network in Northwest Gainesville and Alachua County, Florida. In a press release, the company said it is investing $40 million on the first phase of this project, with service expected in early 2024.
GoNetspeed has completed construction on its fiber network serving Clinton and Westbrook, Connecticut. The company, which has funding from Oak Hill Capital, is investing $3.8 million in the region. The new network is available for over 7,300 homes and businesses and those interested in service can now sign up for installation, said GoNetspeed. Elsewhere in Connecticut, GoNetspeed also launched initial services for the town of North Haven, where the company is investing $4.2 million to reach more than 4,300 locations. And in Alabama, GoNetspeed announced that it will invest $2.7 million to build out a fiber network in the city of Clay to reach 2,600 locations. Construction will begin this fall with services expected by the end of 2023.
Focus Broadband has completed a fiber network build in Robeson County, North Carolina, making service available to over 1,200 homes and businesses in the region. The company had received a $2.9 million Community Connect grant from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December of 2021 for this project. Also part of this initiative, Focus Broadband said in a press release that it launched free Wi-Fi access at the local Barker Ten Mile Community Center.
Highline recently completed construction on its fiber network in Michigan's Thumb region, making service available for over 8,000 homes. The company built out a fiber network as part of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) commitment, with additional investment from ITC Capital Partners.
The US Treasury Department approved $167.7 million for broadband infrastructure projects in Ohio. The funding comes from the capital projects fund in the American Rescue Plan. According to a press release, the funding will connect 20,000 homes and businesses, or roughly 13% of locations still lacking broadband access in the state. Ohio will also receive $793.6 million through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program to connect remaining unserved locations, according to allocations released by the NTIA in June.
The state of New Mexico last week awarded $66.8 million for 11 projects to deliver broadband to over 10,300 premises. Funding comes from the state's share of capital projects funds through the American Rescue Plan, awarded in December. The big winner this round was Comcast, which was awarded $15.55 million toward a $20.74 million project to extend its fiber network in San Juan County. The project will connect 2,800 additional unserved and underserved premises. Comcast and the other winning providers will contribute a total capital match of $39.5 million for the 11 awarded projects.
TDS Telecom announced service launches in Wisconsin last week. The company has turned on its fiber network to reach an initial 180 customers in Dodgeville and Mineral Point, where construction has been underway for four months. In total, the company expects to connect 3,700 addresses across both communities when work is complete. Also in Wisconsin, the company launched initial services in Manitowoc and West Bend, where TDS is building out a fiber network to reach 29,000 homes and businesses across both regions.
Spectrum has launched services for more than 200 homes and small businesses in Craven County, North Carolina. The company's build there is part of its commitment through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF). Charter/Spectrum was awarded $1 billion through RDOF and is spending $5 billion on a multi-year rural expansion.
Lumos announced that it was awarded grant funding through North Carolina's Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) grant program. The grant ($1.9 million according to a Lumos spokesperson) was awarded as part of an $80 million round in July and will support the company's existing plan to build out fiber to 14,000 underserved homes in Goldsboro, North Carolina. In a press release, Lumos said this includes more than 1,000 homes and small businesses in Wayne County that are receiving fiber broadband for the first time. Service is expected to launch in early October.
In addition to GREAT grants awarded earlier this summer – won by Lumos, Charter, Brightspeed, Focus Broadband and others – North Carolina last week also awarded $22 million through its Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) grant program. The grants will enable providers to connect 6,012 households and 164 businesses in 14 counties. Charter/Spectrum took home most of the grants, winning awards for projects in seven of the 14 counties. Other winners include AT&T, Roanoke Connect Holdings, Skyrunner, French Broad Electric Membership Corp., Surry Telephone Membership Corp., Wilkes Communications and Zitel.
OneWeb and SES announced the launch of 50 satellite terminals in remote areas of Alaska, to deliver connectivity to school districts and healthcare facilities. In a press release, the companies said the initiative will leverage OneWeb's network of 648 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to deliver primary and backup capacity to the SES network which spans "19 microwave towers across 600 miles of interior Alaska and a fiber optic network from Nome to Prudhoe Bay."
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