BOSTON – American Tower, a leader in wireless communications infrastructure, and Nextlink Internet, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) focused on rural communities across the Central U.S., announced today that they have signed a new long-term agreement to help bring enhanced connectivity to users in rural America.
Under this new agreement, Nextlink Internet plans to collocate on over 1,000 American Tower sites to facilitate rapid deployment of fixed broadband service to residents and small businesses across 11 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.
As a Connect America Fund II (CAFII) recipient and a recent provisional winner in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program, Nextlink Internet is rapidly expanding its current service footprint across six states – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois – and working to bring high-speed broadband to underserved areas of 11 states. It will immediately begin utilizing American Tower's extensive network of rural communications sites to further enhance this initiative and roll out service at a faster pace.
"Since our CAFII funding initiated in Summer 2019, our team has put forth tremendous effort in scaling our operational service area into rural markets, and we are continually looking at opportunities to partner with others to accelerate that pace even further. American Tower is uniquely positioned to be that partner for us," said Bill Baker, Chief Executive Officer at Nextlink Internet. "With a robust portfolio in rural markets and proven track record of providing exceptional service to ISPs and fixed wireless providers, American Tower is the ideal partner and our preferred tower provider in helping us meet critical build deadlines and expedite internet access in underserved areas."
"We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Nextlink Internet through this mutually beneficial agreement," said Steve Vondran, Executive Vice President and President, U.S. Tower Division at American Tower. "We're excited to work with Nextlink Internet and aid in their efforts to help close the digital divide in rural America."