The Great Broadband Build: Kinetic Goes Big on 8 Gig; AT&T Brings Fiber Broadband to Vanderburgh County, Indiana

In this issue of The Great Broadband Build, we're tracking Kinetic ramping its 8 Gbps presence and AT&T helping close the digital divide in Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

  • 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.

Kinetic Expands its 8 Gbps Presence Across 330 Exchanges
Kinetic by Windstream claims it will soon be the nation’s largest provider of 8 Gbps home internet. In July, 330 exchanges across the Kinetic footprint will be eligible for 8 Gig service in their homes. That means more than 400,000 households can access this future-proof bandwidth. The company will continue to expand its multi-Gig offerings into more markets in the future. Expanding multi-Gig service comes as part of Kinetic’s multi-year $2 billion capital investment to deploy fiber across its 18-state footprint. Additionally, the company is creating unique partnerships with cities, counties and other groups to drive fiber deeper into the network faster.

AT&T Extends 11K Vanderburgh County, Ind Residents
AT&T announced that 11,000 new customer locations now have access to fiber-powered broadband in unincorporated Vanderburgh County as part of its public-private project to expand broadband access. The project will connect more than 20,000 households and businesses across the county and will be completed by November 2023. The telco  has extensive experience deploying fiber across Indiana. More than 540,000 locations in the state have access to AT&T Fiber today. AT&T is also currently working with the City of MartinsvilleCity of BoonvilleLawrence County and Delaware County on public-private partnerships to bring AT&T Fiber to those communities. In addition, AT&T is collaborating with the State of Indiana through the state’s Next Level Connections Broadband Grant Program to build fiber networks in parts of nine counties. The Vanderburgh County project, valued at $39 million, was made possible because of federal funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). The ARP’s $25 billion investment aims to help provide every American with access to affordable, high-speed internet and connectivity. Additionally, Fffty Vanderburgh County students and families are receiving free refurbished laptops as part of AT&T’s nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide. AT&T is working with Compudopt to provide Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation (EVSC), and the EVSC Foundation with laptops and other digital literacy resources. The laptops, funded by an AT&T donation to Compudopt, were given to Vanderburgh County area residents.

Range Dedicates $18M to Build for Colstrip and Forsyth, Montana Communities Fiber Roll Out
Range, a southeast Montana-based provider plans to invest more than $18 million in fiber-optic internet to the Colstrip and Forsyth, Montana communities. This project is possible because of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through ConnectMT and an investment from Range. Range was awarded funds to construct fiber to hundreds of homes and businesses in Forsyth and Colstrip. This will allow these communities access to some of the best internet speeds available in the country. Range plans to start construction in the Spring of 2024. Updates for the project can be found at and Range’s social media accounts.

Metronet Launches Fiber Internet in James City
Metronet is lighting up its multi-gig service in James City. As Metronet’s service becomes available throughout the community, residents will have access to speeds up to 2 Gbps; and businesses may access speeds up to 10 Gbps. As construction continues throughout James City, residents in construction areas will receive 30 days advance notice by mail regarding construction activity in their neighborhood. Residents will also receive additional messaging, such as yard signs, to notify residents when construction is beginning in their neighborhood. Metronet crews are marked by ID tags and branded vehicles.

Highline Hopes to Tap into BEAD Funding to Connect Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in Michigan
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) is hopeful for recently announced government funding from The Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program, a $42.45 billion to expand high-speed internet access by funding planning, infrastructure deployment, and adoption programs for all 50 states. The NTIA recently announced that Michigan’s allocation is 1.6 billion dollars. Highline is on target to build a network offering gigabit fiber internet access to 23,815 UP households by the end of 2023.

Rockford, IL and SiFi Networks Launch $200M Fibercity Project

SiFi Networks and the City of Rockford recently announced the Rockford FiberCity® project, which will bring all-fiber internet network to every home, business, and institution in the city. Tom McNamara, Mayor, City of Rockford, Kyle Saunders, Director of Public Works, City of Rockford and Travis Nelson, Senior Vice President, SiFi Networks explained that the circa $200 million project, which is being funded privately, shall provide access to all of Rockford’s 78,000 households, businesses and institutions, with speeds up to 10 Gbps, among the fastest residential speeds available in the United States. The Rockford FiberCity® project will be an Open Access network, a successful model in other regions of the U.S. and across Europe. Open Access allows fiber infrastructure to be shared by multiple service providers, whether that be internet, wireless, or other services, thereby delivering the fastest speeds at the most competitive prices to the consumer. Like all SiFi Networks’ fiber builds in the U.S., the Rockford FiberCity® project will be constructed at no cost or risk to taxpayers. 

Empire Access Brings Fiber Internet to Dansville and Warsaw, New York
Empire Access has expanded its fiber broadband services to Dansville and Warsaw, New York. Empire Access’ award-winning Internet and broadband services will offer enterprise-class Wi-Fi, phone plans, streaming, and security solutions to business and residential customers. Empire Access is continuing its expansion strategy in New York’s Southern Tier with service to Dansville and Warsaw. Headquartered in Prattsburgh, New York, Empire Access provides communities with fiber optic-backed Internet services across upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. Home and business owners, Internet users, and local governments will have access to Empire Access Internet and broadband services, ranked the fastest Internet in the Northeast by PCMag, when completed during the Summer of 2023.

Fidium Extends Gig Speed Internet to 41K New Residential, Business Locations
In less than two years, Maine has more than doubled the number of fiber internet-accessible homes. Fidium has built fiber to 190,000 homes, more than one third of Maine households, overcoming being previously ranked 49th in gigabit-speed internet access. In recent weeks, Fidium added 41,000 homes and businesses to the growing list of fiber-accessible homes, including: 27,000 homes and businesses in Lewiston by June’s end; 9,000 in the North Deering neighborhood of Portland, and more than 5,000 in Scarborough.

i3 Broadband Lights 8 Gbps Fiber Broadband in Greater St. Louis Area
i3 Broadband (i3) is adding multi-gig tiers and price structures for customers in the Greater St. Louis area. Consumers can now choose from several speed options including the latest 8 Gbps tier and a new 2 Gbps option. i3 will continue to offer its popular 1-gigabit tier along with a higher entry-level option of 300Mbps. All i3 Fiber tiers are equal upload and download speeds and will be available throughout the entire Greater St. Louis region. In addition, i3 is incorporating a new price structure that is affordable and consistent, aiming to reduce the industry’s prevalent use of promotional introductory pricing. i3 does not require residential service contracts, impose data limits, or charge installation or activation fees. 1Gb and 2Gb offerings include a free Wi-Fi router with additional extenders for just $5.

Comporium Expands Broadband Investment in Transylvania County
Comporium is enabling faster broadband speeds in more parts of North Carolina’s Transylvania County. The company is in the final stages of offering up to 1 Gbps broadband speeds to nearly 800 addresses across the area. In addition to improving its network in downtown Brevard, Comporium has begun migrating customers in the Balsam Grove, Cedar Mountain, and Lake Toxaway communities to recently upgraded facilities. As part of its efforts to promote digital equity across all its service areas, Comporium participates in the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. This income-based federal program allows eligible homes to get a $30 discount off regular monthly rates for internet service.

Fidium Expands Fiber Internet to 10,000-plus Vermont Locations
Fidium Fiber’s expansion in Vermont has brought multi-gig fiber broadband service to over 10,000 homes and businesses across the state. Communities in Addison County (Hancock, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury and Weybridge), Franklin County (Bakersfield and Fairfield) and Chittenden County (Colchester, Essex, Milton and Williston) are the latest in the state to gain access to the provider’s gigabit fiber internet service. With continued buildout planned to take place over the course of the summer and fall, more than 114,000 Vermont residents and businesses will have access to Fidium by year’s end. Fidium expansion efforts in Vermont so far in 2023 have included:

  • Over 8,000 locations in Franklin County (Bakersfield and Fairfield, as well as St. Albans, Swanton and Georgia announced in April) are now ready for service;
  • Continued construction in southern Vermont began in Mayon more than 14,000 locations, which will allow SoVT CUD to become the first to reach universal broadband coverage this year;
  • Expansion to parts of more than 30 communities across the state, with service now available in more than 70 cities and towns in Vermont

123NET wins $65M County-wide Broadband Project with Allegan County
123NET and Allegan County have been awarded a $65 Million Project to construct an open access, carrier neutral fiber network. This county-wide broadband project will begin construction in mid-August. The Allegan County Board of Commissioners and 123NET established a public-private partnership earlier this year and applied for the Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant together. Now that the project has been awarded, 123NET will construct an extensive 1,100 miles of high-capacity fiber and provide world-class connectivity to over 10,000 unserved and underserved homes across the county. 123NET will provide fiber internet with speeds of up to 10 Gbps. The new network will be open access and carrier neutral, enabling other network providers to utilize the fiber infrastructure to offer their services. It is investing $17.5 million toward the project, with additional funding coming from the ROBIN Grant and Allegan County's American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Funds. Construction will be completed over the next two years.

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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