The Great Broadband Build: Verizon to Build Fios to 500K locations in 2023; Ziply Fiber to Acquire Ptera

In this latest Broadband Communities' Great Broadband Build issue, we’re tracking Verizon’s plans to build Fios to an additional 500,000 locations this year and Ziply moving to acquire Ptera.

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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.

Verizon to Build Fios to 500K Locations in 2023
Verizon may be emphasizing its wireless broadband products. Still, Fios remains a priority: the telco plans to expand its fiber-based broadband service to an additional 500,000 locations this year. In 2022, Verizon added 550,000 new Fios locations, ending the year with over 17.1 million sites and 6.7 million Fios internet customers.

During the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Matt Ellis, CFO of Verizon, told investors that while its FTTH footprint is smaller than other wireline providers, the telco added 200,000 new Fios customers in 2022, “showing that you can continue to add customers there. So it's a great product where we have it available.” Ellis added, “I expect we’ll do roughly half a million premises open for sale annually for a few years.”

Besides building new fiber locations, Verizon will scale its Fios network by converting more copper-based DSL customers to fiber. “The great thing is as we do that roughly half a million premises per year, you get the open-for-sale opportunity, but you also get the benefit of retiring copper network, and that’s a significant part of the equation for us too,” he added. “So, there’s still runway on the Fios side of the business within the existing footprint.”

Ziply Fiber Deepens Spokane Presence with Ptera Acquisition
Ziply Fiber agreed to acquire Ptera, a fiber internet and fixed wireless internet provider serving four counties across Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. The acquisition, Ziply’s fourth since June 2022, is scheduled to close later this year, pending regulatory approvals. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Liberty Lake, WA, Ptera serves over 4,000 customers in Airway Heights, Cheney, Liberty Lake, Medical Lake and Otis Orchards. All Ptera employees will join the Ziply Fiber team as part of the acquisition. Current Ptera customers will not see immediate changes to their service or working relationships. Once the acquisition officially closes, customers will benefit from expanded customer service capabilities and access to new products such as SD-WAN and improved network management capabilities.

Ting Internet Brings Fiber Internet Services to Alexandria, Virginia
Ting Internet has lit its fiber Internet service in initial Alexandria neighborhoods. The ISP will offer 1 Gbps symmetrical Internet to all Alexandria residents who qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) at no cost—this includes 4,000 affordable housing units as part of Ting's agreement with the City of Alexandria. All those who qualify for the ACP will also receive one Eero router rental at no charge and can purchase a $100 Lenovo tablet for a one-time $20 fee plus tax. Ting's fiber Internet is currently available in select neighborhoods and is expanding across Alexandria, with full municipal access expected by 2025. After being identified as a preferred ISP by the City of Alexandria in the spring of 2022, Ting began construction within the community later that September. Ting is building the city-wide fiber infrastructure via microtrenching—a process that minimizes disruption when placing fiber underground, protecting connections from drastic weather. The network expects to serve over 90,000 addresses across the community when complete. Developed in partnership with the City of Alexandria, Ting's digital equity and inclusion efforts will also provide free symmetrical gigabit Internet to a group of well-known local nonprofit organizations, parks, and farmers markets within the community, as chosen by the city. Customers in Alexandria can sign up for symmetrical 1 Gbps residential Internet for $89 per month. Plans for business enterprises and bulk services are fully customizable and can be created with the Ting Internet enterprise team.

Spectrum to Build Broadband to 2K Homes, Businesses in Hale County, Ala.
Spectrum is bringing broadband services to 2,000 homes and small businesses in Hale County, Alabama. Spectrum’s newly constructed fiber network buildout in Akron, Greensboro and Sawyerville areas 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.

Treasury Allocates $355M to Fund Three Additional Capital Projects in Arizona, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury approved high-speed internet projects in three additional states under the American Rescue Plan’s Capital Projects Fund in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan: Arizona, Tennessee, and Wyoming. These states will use their funding to connect nearly 190,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet. A key priority of the Capital Projects Fund program is to make financing available for reliable, high-speed internet infrastructure, advancing President Biden’s goal of affordable, reliable internet for everyone in America. 

Each state has been allocated funding to expand broadband availability:

  • Arizona is approved to receive $99.4 million for high-speed internet infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect an estimated 127,807 households and businesses to high-speed internet access. Arizona’s award will fund the two high-speed internet infrastructure programs that aim to provide reliable internet access to areas of the state lacking adequate service.
  • Tennessee will receive $185 million, which the state estimates will connect an estimated 50,000 households and businesses to high-speed internet access. Tennessee’s award will fund two high-speed internet infrastructure programs to provide reliable internet access in areas lacking adequate service.
  • Wyoming is approved to receive $70.5 million for high-speed internet infrastructure, which the state estimates will connect 11,700 households and businesses to high-speed internet access. Wyoming’s award will fund the Connect Wyoming grant program, a competitive program designed to support last-mile broadband infrastructure projects in areas throughout the state that currently lack access to 100/20 Mbps speeds.

altafiber, Butler County, Ohio Partnership Targets 60K Addresses
Butler County, Ohio and altafiber announced a new partnership that will bring gigabit high-speed broadband fiber Internet access to approximately 60,000 addresses over the next 36-48 months. Upon completion of the project, 100 percent of Butler County’s 150,000 single-family residences will have access to fiber-based Internet. altafiber’s total investment in the project will be approximately $100 million, which includes bringing fiber to 50,000 Single Family Units and 8,000 Multi-Dwelling Units. Butler County’s Board of Commissioners has approved an additional $10 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding to support the project. In addition, altafiber’s Smart City organization, UniCity, will provide Butler County with up to $300,000 in funding to construct public Wi-Fi improvements. Butler County can utilize the funding on a project of its choice, such as providing Wi-Fi in public parks or public transit.

Kinetic Enables Fiber Broadband for 2.2K Berks, Chester, Lancaster, Pa. County Homes, Businesses
Kinetic has built its fiber-based broadband service to nearly 2,200 homes and businesses in Pennsylvania’s Berks, Chester and Lancaster counties. About 900 homes and businesses in Berks County, 750 in Chester County, and 550 in Lancaster County are now eligible for fiber. Kinetic estimates that the total of nearly 2,200 customers will likely increase to more than 3,100 by next year. The Southeastern Pennsylvania fiber project is part of a $2 billion multiyear capital investment strategy to expand gigabit internet service across Kinetic’s 18-state footprint dramatically.

TDS Launches West Salem, Wisconsin Fiber Build
TDS Telecom has broken ground on its West Salem, Wisconsin, fiber network project. The infrastructure will deliver up to 8 Gbps symmetrical internet for homes, 10 Gbps dedicated connections for businesses, plus TV and phone service for all locations. Construction work started earlier this month, and products and services will become available to customers gradually as sections of the network are finished. Contractors are burying underground fiber in neighborhoods and business parks and installing fiber-to-the-premise connections. TDS expects to connect the first customers before the end of the year. West Salem is the first of three area projects. The Madison-based company will start building work shortly on its Bangor and Rockland, Wis. fiber networks. Funded entirely through private investment, the TDS networks will connect over 3,000 addresses across all three communities. TDS recently launched fiber services to the first customers in Onalaska, Wis., and broke ground on its Tomah, Wis. network at the end of 2022. The expansion reflects the company’s half-billion-dollar investment in fiber deployment in the state. Beyond the greater La Crosse area, TDS is also bringing fiber connections to Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Altoona recently approved a memorandum of understanding on TDS’ expansion into that community.

Eeyou Communications Adopts Open Access Broadband Model
Eeyou Communications, a non-profit corporation based in Canada’s Eeyou Istchee James Bay region, has adopted an open-access. It says adopting the Open Access resale model will benefit residents of the area by verifying service offerings and competitive prices for residential services, including internet, telephone, and television. This initiative will allow internet service resale companies to establish themselves in its region by leveraging Eeyou Communications' existing modern infrastructure simply by interconnecting to one of Eeyou Communications' two points of presence in Montreal, thus allowing them to provide their services to all communities in the territory. The organization's revenues are reinvested in operation maintenance, modernization, and network expansion to provide current and reliable services to all communities in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region.

Fairmount Homes Improve Wi-Fi Coverage with Cambium Networks
HealthSignals, a solutions provider specializing in Senior Living technology infrastructure,  announced that Fairmount Homes continuing care retirement community had enhanced its resident’s Wi-Fi user experience across its Ephrata, PA campus since deploying Cambium Networks' technology. The COVID pandemic changed visiting and socializing practices, and like many retirement communities, Fairmount Homes needed to maximize Wi-Fi availability to residents and staff to optimize care and interaction. The converged fixed wireless and Wi-Fi solution, completed by HealthSignals, covers their campus, populated by approximately 400 residents and a staff of 320 people. Wireless technology has a shorter time to value over fiber and enables digital transformation initiatives in the future.

The Fairmount Homes campus comprises two four-story apartment buildings, 53 standalone cottages, a personal care center and a healthcare center. Since the deployment, network performance has improved sharply. The campus has a daily average of 448 unique devices using the network at an average rate of 400 terabytes per month, with the trend showing an increase of bits of 69 percent over the last 12 months. Fairmount Homes chose fixed wireless technology to connect buildings over GPON or FTTP because the cost and time to trench fiber across the entire campus were prohibitive. In addition, by managing the converged network via one dashboard, HealthSignals has enabled Fairmount Homes to utilize a single IT staff person to support their campus-wide network. Since the installation, trouble reports have decreased from multiple calls per week to less than two calls per month – an 80 percent drop. The wireless network also securely supports pharmacy carts and Electronic Medical Records (EMR) access, allowing staff to stay connected to the core network, increasing productivity and efficiency.

Grayshott Gigabit Employs Calix to Deliver Managed Wi-Fi to UK’s Grayshott and Hindhead Villages
Grayshott Gigabit is leveraging the Calix platform to bring managed Wi-Fi services to the UK villages of Grayshott and Hindhead. Through the U.K. government’s “Project Gigabit” initiative, the alternative internet provider (altnet) ensures that East Hampshire, Surrey Hills, and surrounding areas have the same access to gigabit full fiber broadband as residents of larger cities. Since 2021, Grayshott Gigabit has leveraged the Calix platform to build a 10G fiber network to help maintain property value and bolster the work-from-home economy in their communities. In 2022, they began rolling out Calix GigaSpire BLAST systems to new subscribers—integrated with the Calix Revenue EDGE™ and Calix Cloud® solutions—to give residents improved speed and Wi-Fi 6 coverage. Because the expanding portfolio of GigaSpire BLAST systems integrates with the Calix platform, Grayshott Gigabit can continuously improve the subscriber experience while lowering operating expenses (OPEX). As a result, Grayshott reduced OPEX costs by 90 percent. Grayshott Gigabit’s customer support team also leverages Calix Support Cloud, part of Calix Cloud, to slash average support response times by up to 92 percent to solve subscriber concerns in 24 hours or less.

Metronet Lights Multi-Gig Internet in Five New Illinois Communities
Metronet is bringing its fiber-based broadband service to five new Illinois communities: Colona, Elkhart, Hampton, Milan and Silvis. Besides offering 1 Gbps, Metronet will offer speeds up to 2 gigabits are now available for residents, while businesses may choose rates up to 10 Gbps. In the coming months, more communities throughout Metronet’s 16-state service area will join Colona, Elkhart, Hampton, Milan and Silvis in gaining access to multi-gigabit speeds.

All West Extends Fiber Network to Tooele, Utah
All West Communications plans to expand its multi-gig fiber internet, streaming TV service, and digital phone solutions to the residents of Tooele, Utah. The expansion will include more than 135 miles of fiber and duct and provide services to over 13,000 homes and businesses in Tooele. All West Communications is constructing its network through private funding at no cost to Tooele. The service provider offers speed tiers of up to 8 Gbps for residential and 10 Gbps for businesses. Construction began in February 2023.

McKinney, Texas, Taps SiFi Networks to Build Citywide Fiber Network
McKinney, Texas, has implemented a plan to have SiFi Networks build an open-access fiber network for the city. According to a Community Impact article citing a presentation during a Feb. 7 City Council work session, SiFi is expected to invest over $100 million in the open-access project. Upon completion, the network will offer 10 Gbps symmetrical broadband service to McKinney residents, businesses, and other facilities through an open-access network. McKinney Director of Strategic Services Trevor Minyard said the network implementation requires no hard cost outlay from the city. SiFi will lay 1,200 miles of fiber cable that can connect every residence in the city to the network. According to Minyard, the network is expected to take between 12 and 24 months to design and another 60 months to build. The project could also include an intelligent city corridor along Collin McKinney Parkway.

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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