The Great Broadband Build: AT&T Crafts P3 with Delaware County, IND; Frontier Hits 5M Locations with Fiber Broadband

 

As the Christmas season officially gets underway, several new broadband builds were recently announced: AT&T Crafts P3 with Delaware County, IND; Frontier Hits 5M Locations with Fiber Broadband.

  • AT&T

 

Broadband build activity continues to ramp. In this week’s issue, we’re tracking several new builds, including AT&T’s public-private partnership to build fiber to Delaware County, Indiana, and Frontier bringing fiber to 5 million locations.

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.

AT&T to Bring Fiber Broadband to Delaware County, IND
Delaware County, Indiana, announced plans for a $2.3 million project with AT&T to build a network and deliver AT&T FiberSM to 1,250 customer locations in parts of the county.  The project is contingent upon a final contract between the county and AT&T.  “With AT&T Fiber, our community will be even better positioned for healthy growth and new economic opportunities,” said Delaware County Commissioner James King. “Our residents, businesses, and visitors will soon reap the benefits of faster internet speeds, and we’re grateful that AT&T stepped up with plans to bring this new technology here.” Plans call for residents and businesses to have access to symmetrical 5 Gbps speeds. The network buildout is expected to be complete within 18 months of contract execution. AT&T has extensive experience deploying fiber optics across Indiana. Hundreds of thousands of locations in the state have access to AT&T Fiber today. AT&T also works with residents and businesses through public-private partnerships.   

Frontier Hits 5M Homes, Businesses with Fiber Broadband Service
Frontier has reached the halfway point to its initial target of building fiber internet to 10 million locations by the end of 2025. The company started its current fiber build program in late 2020, reaching 5 million total locations. “We are halfway to our initial goal of 10 million fiber locations passed, which means more of our schools, neighbors, and business owners now have access to high-speed fiber internet,” said Veronica Bloodworth, Frontier’s Chief Network Officer, in a release. Since Frontier’s new leadership team 2021 launched its fiber-first strategy, the telco has accelerated its fiber build in eight consecutive quarters. Earlier this year, the company raised its target from 1 million to a range of 1.1 to 1.2 new fiber locations for 2022.

Omni Fiber Wraps Ohio Telecom Acquisition, Continues Growth Path
Omni Fiber, an emerging FTTP provider offering service in underserved Midwest markets, has completed its acquisition of Port Clinton-based Ohio Telecom as part of its growth strategy. Existing Ohio Telecom markets, including Port Clinton and Oak Harbor, will become eligible for faster speeds (2 Gbps) once the network expansion is complete. At the same time, Omni Fiber will also accelerate planned expansion in surrounding communities, including Sandusky, Perkins Township, and Fremont. Current Ohio Telecom business and institutional customers in multiple markets will also be eligible to upgrade to Omni's fiber network for increased product options and improved performance. Expansion of the combined network will begin in early 2023 and continue throughout the year. Millitzer Capital, a media and broadband M&A firm, represented Ohio Telecom in the transaction. Construction of Omni Fiber's fiber network in Sandusky, Perkins Township, and Fremont will begin in early 2023, and those interested in being among the first to get Omni Fiber service can place a no-obligation pre-order at www.omnifiber.com. Previously announced Ohio communities with construction complete or already underway include Bellevue, Clyde, Dover, Huron, Shelby, and Tiffin.

Breezeline Launches FTTH, Stream TV Services in Durham, NH
Breezeline has extended its fiber network into Durham, New Hampshire, continuing its year-long expansion in the state. The company’s Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) technology will be available for the first time in Durham starting in January 2023. Breezeline also has introduced Breezeline Stream TV, a new cloud-based service that seamlessly integrates live TV, DVR, On Demand and popular streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Max and Disney+ for viewing on devices inside and outside the home via single, easy-to-use interface. Durham is just one of several NH towns where Breezeline is extending its service. Earlier this year, Breezeline began its fiber expansion in New Hampshire, growing into Somersworth, Dover, Madbury and Concord, reaching more than 15,000 homes and businesses with its FTTH service. Breezeline offers internet speeds of 200/200 Mbps, 500/500 Mbps and 1,000/1,000 Mbps (1 Gigabit) with no data caps. Business-class internet is also available with rates up to 100/100, 200/200, 500/500, 750/750, 1,000/1,000 Mbps.

Windstream’s New $250M Term Loan to Fund New P3 Broadband Builds
Windstream has completed a new $250 million Super Senior Incremental Term Loan and a refinancing of its existing revolver that will extend the revolver maturity to 2027 from 2024, both of which it will use to fund its public-private partnerships to deliver broadband in rural areas. In conjunction with the two transactions, the company’s existing term loan is being transitioned from a London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)-based interest calculation to a Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR)-based interest calculation. “The new term loan and revolver extension will enable us to fully fund our public-private partnerships and deliver gigabit broadband to consumers and small businesses in rural areas across our 18-state Kinetic region,” said Drew Smith, chief financial officer, and treasurer at Windstream. “These refinancing efforts provide Windstream a clear runway to execute our business plan, with no near-term debt maturities.” To date, Windstream has secured $295 million in funding commitments from governmental agencies to help it deliver fiber broadband to over 140,000 locations. That drives the company’s net cost per fiber location to approximately $1,000 in high-cost areas and represents a desirable ROI for the business.

Spectrum Brings Gigabit Broadband to Lauderdale County, Alabama
Spectrum recently launched Spectrum Internet, Mobile, TV and Voice services to more than 2,400 homes and small businesses in the Rogersville and Lexington areas of Lauderdale County. Spectrum’s newly constructed fiber network buildout in Lauderdale County is part of the company’s approximately $5 billion investment in unserved rural communities, which includes more than 1 billion won in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) RDOF auction. The company’s RDOF expansion will provide broadband access to approximately 1 million customer locations, as estimated by the FCC across 24 states in the coming years. “One of my top priorities representing constituents in Alabama’s first district has been growing broadband access.” said state Rep. Phillip Pettus. ”Charter’s expansion of its Spectrum internet service in parts of Lauderdale that did not have access before is a step toward closing the digital divide in Alabama.” 

Metronet Lights Up Symmetrical Fiber Broadband in New Bern, NC
Metronet customers in New Bern, NC, can now access multi-gigabit internet speeds with service installation available. In addition to Metronet’s current offerings of 1 gigabit per second, speeds up to 2 gigabits are now available for residents; businesses may choose speeds of up to 10 gigabits. Customers in Metronet’s initial construction areas may sign up to be installed by visiting shop.metronet.com. As construction continues, residents in construction areas will receive 30 days’ advance notice by mail about construction activity in their neighborhood. Metronet provides additional messaging, such as yard signs, to notify residents when construction is beginning in their area.

Visionary Broadband to Invest $100M to Build Fiber Networks in 20 Rockies Communities
Visionary Broadband has committed $100 million to build fiber internet in twenty communities in Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana, with simultaneous construction already begun. According to a release, construction is underway in Casper, Cheyenne, Gillette, and Lusk, Wyoming, with go-live dates starting in early 2023 for residential customers. Fiber is widely available to customers in Dayton, LaGrange, Ranchester, Torrington and Yoder, Wyoming, and Gunnison and Kremmling, Colorado. Visionary built fiber networks across rural Colorado and Wyoming during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company has plans to expand fiber internet to 11 other communities in the coming three years. "This is an exciting time for our customers and our co-workers," said Brian Worthen, CEO of Visionary Broadband. "Rural communities must have reliable fiber infrastructure to attract and retain and attract young working families and businesses," Worthen explained. The company will offer 1Gbps/1Gbps (or Gigabit) service, with all equipment supporting 10Gbps/10Gbps to every home and business within its service area. Visionary is installing XGS-PON and Active Ethernet equipment, built on high-capacity rings. Visionary is building business fiber in Laramie, Lander and Wheatland, Wyoming, with plans to expand to residential areas of those communities in 2024. Additionally, Visionary has secured Federal, State and local grants to assist in fiber build in Cañon City, Lake City, Marble, Walden, Colorado, Hardin, Montana, and Lusk, Wyoming.

Consolidated Wraps Sale of its Kansas City Assets
Consolidated Communications has completed the sale of its Kansas City assets to Everfast Fiber Networks LLC for about $82 million. This deal will enable the telco to focus on its fiber expansion plans in its core regions. Everfast Fiber Networks LLC, owned by funds managed by Astatine Investment Partners LLC, is committed to delivering high-quality data, telephony and video services to residential and commercial customers in the Kansas City market. “We’re pleased to have closed on the Kansas asset sale, which results in a greater focus on our core regions as we utilize the proceeds to support our fiber expansion plans,” said Bob Udell, president and chief executive officer of Consolidated Communications. “With strong liquidity and no debt maturities until 2027, we are on a path to upgrade 1.6 million total passings to fiber as we simplify our business and focus on our fiber-first strategy.” Consolidated’s Kansas City operations are estimated to contribute approximately $45 million of revenue in the full year 2022. The Kansas City operations include services to residential and commercial customers.

TDS’ Wisconsin Expands Fiber Broadband into Whitewater, Manitowoc
TDS Telecommunications has added Whitewater and Manitowoc to its FTTH expansion plans. Residents can get speeds up to 2Gig, and up to 10Gig dedicated fiber connections will be available for businesses. Construction on the networks is expected to begin soon. The networks will serve about 12,900 homes and businesses in Manitowoc and another 3,800 in Whitewater. Besides the internet, Whitewater and Manitowoc will get a new choice for TV providers. TDS’ TV product, TDS TV®+, offers local and national networks, integration with popular streaming services, the ability to start shows over, and a cloud DVR. Phone packages and service bundles are also available. Whitewater and Manitowoc join a growing list of Wisconsin communities in which TDS has projects planned or underway.

Bluepeak Strikes Fiber Build Agreement with Yukon, OK
Bluepeak has established a franchise agreement with Yukon, Oklahoma, to build a fiber network. According to Bluepeak, the roughly $10 million expansion effort will bring Bluepeak service to more than 10,000 residences and businesses in Yukon.“The investment we’re making to build our fiber network here is due in no small part to our great partnership with the city of Yukon,” said Rich Fish, Bluepeak’s CEO, in a release. “We’re confident our fiber-to-the-home internet service will enable economic development and meet the ever-growing connectivity needs of the Yukon community.” The timing could not be better for Oklahoma. According to broadbandnow.com, Oklahoma ranks 46th in the nation in internet coverage, speed and availability. What’s more, A Kansas City Federal Reserve study estimated that 30 percent of Oklahomans have access to fewer than two wired internet providers. Furthermore, research from a 2020 report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on “Bringing Broadband to Rural America” determined that broadband access and adoption are linked to increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation and home values, and lower unemployment rates. In addition to this expansion in Oklahoma, Bluepeak is significantly expanding into other announced markets in Wyoming, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

UTOPIA Fiber Signs Fiber Broadband Deal with West Haven, Utah
UTOPIA Fiber has signed an agreement to build a $17.6 million city-wide high-speed broadband network in West Haven City, Utah. Construction will begin this fall and mark the first time UTOPIA Fiber has expanded into Weber County. West Haven will join 19 other cities across Utah that chose UTOPIA Fiber to deliver ultra-high-speed broadband and Smart City services to residents and businesses via an all-fiber infrastructure. With the addition of West Haven, UTOPIA Fiber provides fiber-to-the-home services in 20 cities and business services in over 50, connecting communities to residential speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps), and 100 Gbps for business.

Ritter Completes Fiber Upgrade in Northeast Arkansas and Western Tennessee
Ritter Communications, the largest privately held telecommunications service provider, serving the Mid-South exclusively, has completed a $12.5 million fiber-rich network upgrade affecting numerous rural communities across Northeast Arkansas and Western Tennessee. Residential customers in these areas will be able to get access to the company’s 1 Gbps internet service. The telco’s network upgrade will affect 45 communities. The nearly 24,000 residential internet customers benefitting from this upgrade will experience improved network quality and security, signal strength, and a better wall-to-wall Wi-Fi experience.  The upgrade was intended to be a three-year project, with initial construction starting in February 2021. However, the upgrade was completed in the Fall of 2022.

 

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