The Great Broadband Build: Comcast Begins Network Construction in Whatcom County, Washington; SiFi Networks Breaks Ground on Saratoga Springs FiberCity Project  

As we wrap up Halloween and head into November, several new broadband builds were announced this week: WOW! Further Extends Alabama Footprint; Comcast Announces Network Construction in Whatcom County, Washington; TDS breaks ground on fiber expansion in New London, Minn. – and others.

  • Comcast

The Great Broadband Build is a new weekly online news feature Broadband Communities is developing to track the ongoing last mile and middle mile deployments across the U.S.

You can send us relevant news to sean@bbcmag.com. You can also tune in for new issues of the Great Broadband Build here.

WOW! Further Extends Alabama Footprint
WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone is bringing its all-IP fiber network to residents in Headland, Alabama. Upon completion, Headland consumers will have access to WOW!'s symmetrical Internet speeds of up to 5 Gbps. Residents can also add WOW!'s Whole-Home Wi-Fi solution, WOW tv+, and mobile and landline phone services to any high-speed data plan. WOW! Business customers can also rely on WOW! as a trusted partner for the fastest speeds in the market that fit any budget. WOW! Currently offers services to residents in the Dothan area and several other cities in Alabama. This fiber Edge-out into Headland marks a significant step for the company as they continue to bring high-speed Internet and exceptional customer service to even more residents in the Dothan area.

Comcast Announces Network Construction in Whatcom County, Washington
Comcast has begun construction to expand service to hundreds of homes in the City of Sumas, Washington. The cable MSO is investing more than $4.2 million to bring the entire Xfinity and Comcast Business services to the citizens and businesses in the rural community of Whatcom County. During the last three years, Comcast has made $1 billion in technology and infrastructure investments in Washington, including expansion and upgrades to our network. As a result, more than 2.8 million Washington homes and businesses have access to Xfinity and Comcast Business products and services with speeds of 1.2 Gbps or more. Once construction is completed, Sumas residents will have access to the entire Xfinity product suite, from Internet Essentials – a low-cost internet adoption program for low-income Americans. Comcast serves more than 1.7 million residential and business customers throughout Washington state.

TDS Breaks Ground on Fiber Expansion in New London, Minn.
TDS Telecommunications has broken ground on what it says is a “substantial” fiber network expansion in the New London, Minnesota, area. The project will bring fiber-to-the-premises connections to more than 3,700 residential and business addresses across Brooten, Danube, Kerkhoven, New London, Pennock, and Spicer. The expansion, funded entirely by TDS, grows the availability of up to 1 Gbps symmetrical internet to homes and up to 10 Gbps dedicated connections to businesses. Construction work includes burying conduit and fiber cables underground in utility easement areas. The first customers are expected to be connected next summer, with launches continuing in phases as work is completed. TDS recently completed multiple fiber network expansion projects in Minnesota, wrapping up construction in Pequot Lakes, Pine River, Breezy Point, and Jenkins, Minnesota, reaching nearly 2,900 additional addresses with super high-speed connections.

SiFi Networks Breaks Ground on Saratoga Springs FiberCity Project  
Saratoga Springs and SiFi Networks have broken ground on the Saratoga Springs FiberCity® project, a citywide fiber network. Once complete, the $32 million venture, being funded privately, will enable high-speed fiber infrastructure for every household, business, and institution within city limits. Work to construct the network began earlier this year, with the first homes scheduled to go live next fall and the entire city slated for completion in 2024. Officials also announced that the internet GigabitNow has signed on to be the first provider on the open access network, offering speeds up to 10 Gbps. Unlike other providers that cherry-pick parts of a community to build out fiber, Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® network is being made available to every address—business and residential home--within the city. This includes low-income housing units typically passed over by ISPs. GigabitNow said Saratoga Springs residents and businesses could pre-register for service online. GigabitNow will offer a variety of symmetrical speed plans ranging from 350 Mbps up to 10 Gbps. Full-scale construction on Saratoga Springs’ FiberCity® will continue until around Thanksgiving when underground work is paused for the winter. Crews will resume work in the spring, and the first customers on the network will go live next fall. 

Quinault Indian Nation to Build Subsea Cable Landing Station in Washington State
The Quinault Indian Nation (QIN) launched Toptana Technologies, the first indigenous-owned cable landing station and backhaul network provider on the West Coast of the United States. This new venture will connect unserved and under-served markets across Washington State and Oregon, including the QIN community, which remains vastly behind in the digital divide and extends to surrounding communities, rural areas, and other tribal groups. New subsea cables have not landed in the State of Washington for over 20 years. The declining existing infrastructure has been a widespread concern for the greater region, particularly as global internet demand continues to surge. They are expanding access to high-speed internet in the area nearly impossible task without the infrastructure of additional subsea cables to power a direct source.

Toptana Technologies will provide diverse, transpacific network capacity from the Pacific Northwest to Asia-Pacific and Oceania markets while enabling network access from the Coast to the I-5 corridor with onward connectivity to Seattle, and Hillsboro, Oregon. In addition to open and neutral connectivity that delivers highly reliable, available, and secure connectivity, Toptana’s fiber network will have minimal disruption to the community and the environment with all the underground terrestrial network. The cable landing station will support four subsea cable customers at launch, with the capacity to expand up to 16 times over time while offering the option of 100 percent renewable power. Toptana will offer new route diversity to the Asia-Pacific and Oceania markets while helping to deliver digital equality and connectivity for all. Construction of the cable landing station will begin mid-to-late 2023 and is expected to be operational in 2025. Assured Communications Advisors was selected as the primary operations service provider and facilitator of sales and industry partnerships. A Board of Directors will be announced later this year.

Google Fiber Gets Green Light to Bring FTTH Services to Omaha
Google Fiber has gotten the approval of Omaha City Council to build out its fiber-to-the-home service in the city. According to a WOWT report, questions remain about a two percent charge on the project’s gross revenue. City council leaders said they are not sure they can implement it. Earlier, Google pledged it would pay the bill. It’s also unclear whether the city can charge Google Fiber for accessing public rights-of-way. The city law department says state law doesn’t allow the city to set Google if it’s using broadband—which it would be. Besides Omaha, Google Fiber is talking to city leaders in several other states, including Mesa, Arizona (announced in July), Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada, and Idaho.

Archtop Fiber, Saugerties, NY Craft Broadband Partnership
Archtop Fiber, a fiber Internet and phone service provider of residential and business customers across the Northeast, announced a strategic partnership with the Town/Village of Saugerties to invigorate its community with the development of an all-fiber broadband network. Archtop Fiber will serve as the Town/Village of Saugerties official partner to bring more connectivity and tech-focused jobs to the area. Set to break ground in early November, the new all-fiber network will span 250 fiber miles. The announcement comes as the company begins its fully funded acquisition and fiber broadband strategy across New York’s Hudson Valley region, including the City of Kingston, the Town of Ulster, and others. The Saugerties market marks the first of many new development projects for Archtop Fiber, founded by an expert team of telecom industry veterans. In addition to the Hudson Valley area, the company’s rollout plans include markets in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and across the southeastern U.S. 

Idaho Issues Notice of Request for Broadband Project and Planning Proposals
The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board requests proposals from eligible entities on broadband infrastructure needs across the state of Idaho. This information will be submitted as a broadband infrastructure or planning project proposal. Qualifying proposals should focus on expanding or extending middle-mile and last-mile infrastructure to connect unserved and underserved areas. Proposals should also detail how planning funds will be used for local planning purposes to improve access to telehealth, remote work, and more. If planning funds are needed for your organization, the Idaho Broadband Advisory Board is also looking for proposals for planning funds. Broadband infrastructure proposals are submitted with the acknowledgment that the submission in no way guarantees to fund now or in the future. The Idaho Broadband Advisory Board will award funds according to future grant guidelines and application criteria in correlation with the statewide broadband plan. These proposals are critical to understanding the state’s broadband infrastructure needs. The deadline to submit proposals is December 1, 2022.

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