The Great Broadband Build: Google to Test 20 Gbps in Four Cities; Digital C to Offer $18 Broadband Across Cleveland

In this issue of The Great Broadband Build, we're tracking Google Fiber testing 20 Gbps in four cities and Digital C bringing $18 a month broadband throughout all of Cleveland.

  • Broadband Adoption

Service providers are rapidly building broadband in communities nationwide via fiber, existing coax, and wireless. The Great Broadband Build is a weekly roundup of the latest broadband network deployments.

You can send news directly to Sean Buckley, Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities, at Stay abreast of each installment of The Great Broadband Build here.

Google to Test 20 Gbps in Four Cities
Google Fiber is searching for eight more organizations — businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions — to help test 20 Gbps speeds in Austin, Huntsville, Raleigh-Durham and Salt Lake City. The provider has been testing 20 Gbps connectivity at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, whose School of Science and Engineering is using it to tackle big data sets to make virtual reality less virtual and more reality. The FTTH provider previously launched its 5 Gbps and 8 Gbps speed tiers.   

Digital C to Offer $18 Broadband Across Cleveland
DigitalC will soon offer a citywide 100 Mbps symmetrical broadband internet service for $18 a month. According to an Axios report, this low-priced broadband service would be available for $18 a month regardless of income level. The move comes as Cleveland’s Mayor Justin Bibb proposes to spend $20 million in federal pandemic relief funds to expand nonprofit DigitalC to provide affordable broadband access citywide within 18 months. If Bibb’s proposal gets the green light from Cleveland’s City Council, DigitalC’s expansion would be completed in three phases—each of which would take six months. The first phase would target the east sidewards 5, 6, 7 and 9. "Historically, people in Cleveland are not experiencing speeds like this, and they're not experiencing it for $18 a month unless it's a promotional rate,” said DigitalC CEO Joshua Edmonds during a recent demonstration of the technology.

Since 2019, DigitalC has offered its baseline $18 rate. As a condition of federal funding, the service would be locked in at that rate for the next five years. It will also offer a 1 Gbps tier for $49.99 a month. DigitalC wasn’t the only provider that proposed to provide lower-priced broadband. Incumbent providers Spectrum, AT&T and T-Mobile also submitted bids. However, according to a Signal Cleveland report, Spectrum's proposal would have offered internet for $23 per month, but the city opted for DigitalC due to its low consumer price.

Consolidated Communications Provides Free Wi-Fi in Downtown Roseville, Calif.
Consolidated Communications, in partnership with the City of Roseville, recently completed a project that expands and enhances the online experience throughout the downtown area. Visitors and residents can enjoy the exceptional Fidium fiber Wi-Fi while shopping, dining and exploring. The renewed service will provide connectivity while on Vernon Street, from Folsom Rd. to Taylor Rd. Fidium Fiber is now available to more than 140,000 homes and small businesses in the Roseville, Sacramento, and Elk Grove areas.

TDS Continues Maine Fiber Expansion; Raises Speeds to 8 Gbps
TDS Telecom is expanding its fiber broadband presence in Maine, with build-outs launched in other communities and increasing speeds to 8 Gbps. The telco said that work is underway or will soon begin in other communities in Franklin and Somerset counties, including Weld, Carrabassett, Stratton, Mercer, Norridgewock, Kingfield, New Portland, New Vineyard, North Anson, Phillips, Salem and Strong. Upon completion, the new fiber network will be available to more than 7,400 homes and businesses. Meanwhile, construction continues in several other communities, including Harmony, West Ripley, Solon, Embden, Athens, and Warren. Internet speeds will reach up to 8 Gbps throughout TDS’ Maine fiber expansion. As TDS expands its footprint into 100 new communities, any ongoing or planned development will be 8 Gbps capable. TDS also continues to explore opportunities to upgrade its technology in its previously launched communities. 

IQ Fiber Expands Network Reach to Gainesville, Florida
IQ Fiber is expanding its fiber network to North Central Florida, including Gainesville. The provider’s initial investment in Gainesville is estimated at nearly $40 million. IQ Fiber will be the first locally based residential fiber-optic company to enter the Gainesville market. Headquartered in Jacksonville, IQ Fiber is deploying its network across Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties. The North Central Florida expansion marks the company’s first significant network expansion outside the Jacksonville metro region. The company will establish a satellite office in Gainesville and hire over 30 employees to support the expansion. Construction on the Gainesville and Alachua County network will begin this summer.

Empire Access Brings Fiber Service to Horseheads and Southport, New York
Empire Access has expanded its fiber optic Internet to Horseheads and Southport, New York, part of New York State’s Southern Tier. Residents and business owners will receive access to award-winning Internet and broadband services, including enterprise-class Wi-Fi, phone plans, streaming, and security solutions. In this latest expansion to Horseheads and Southport, Empire Access continues its strategic growth in the region shortly following its announced development into Endicott and Endwell. Service will be available during the Summer of 2023.

Metronet Lights Up First Customers in Colorado Springs
Metronet is now offering residents and businesses fiber internet services, with speeds of up to 10 Gbps, in initial construction areas of Colorado Springs. The service provider began construction in Colorado Springs in August 2022 and has entirely funded the estimated $130 million project. No taxpayer funds will be used to subsidize the fiber network infrastructure. Colorado Springs is the state’s first community to access Metronet’s fiber internet. It is also the first city where Metronet offers speeds up to 5 Gbps for residential customers.

Bountiful, Utah Issues $48M Bond for City-Owned Fiber Network with UTOPIA.
Bountiful, Utah’s City Council recently voted unanimously to approve the construction of a city-owned fiber network by UTOPIA Fiber. The city is issuing a $48 million bond to fund the construction of the network. Under the terms of the 10-year agreement with UTOPIA, the web will be owned by the city. It will be operated entirely by UTOPIA Fiber, which will lease the fiber to other internet service providers in an open-access structure. Gary Hill, Bountiful city manager, wrote in a letter to the City Council that the network build is expected to take two to three years. Customers in certain areas will have access to fiber within 18 months of construction beginning.

Related: The Great Broadband Build

Sean Buckley, Editor in Chief of Broadband Communities and the host of the Broadband Ripple Podcast.  

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