Charlotte, NC-based Brightspeed in June released the details of its planned fiber network build for Alabama, part of the service provider’s $2 billion initiative to serve rural and suburban regions across 20 states. By the end of 2023, Brightspeed expects to finish Phase 1 of the construction of the Alabama network, delivering over 60,000 new fiber passings across several counties in the state. Subsequent phases will add another 60,000 fiber passings for a total of up to 120,000 new fiber-enabled locations in its Alabama footprint. Over the next 18 months, the Phase 1 Alabama network build will focus on residential and commercial locations within Baldwin, Covington, Dale, Elmore, Fayette, Geneva, Henry, Pickens, and Tallapoosa counties.
The company's XGS-PON-based network will enable downstream and upstream internet speeds that exceed 1 Gbps. The FTTP architecture will help speed roll out. "We will be ready to hit the ground running with our deployment," said Sherry Hessenthaler, operations strategy lead for Brightspeed. "In addition to our own network investment in Alabama, we are equally inspired by the opportunity to partner with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to pursue a possible extension of the build and bring fiber-based internet to even more customers in the state."
Separately on July 7, Brightspeed announced that it will deliver, by the end of 2023, up to 14,000 new fiber passings in the first phase of its fiber optics network build in the state of Louisiana. Brightspeed plans to achieve an additional 14,000 fiber passings in the state in subsequent years of its build plan, for a total of up to 28,000 fiber-enabled locations in Louisiana. Brightspeed said its 2022-23 fiber build plan for Louisiana will bring faster, more reliable internet and Wi-Fi to 14,000 residential and commercial locations in portions of Acadia, Calcasieu, Evangeline, Franklin, Jefferson Davis, and Webster parishes.
“We are pleased to share our initial fiber build locations for Louisiana,” said Brightspeed's Hessenthaler. “Brightspeed’s mission is to expand and accelerate the availability of high-quality broadband that will enable our communities to grow and thrive. We are looking forward to offering a new choice in internet and to extending the full capabilities of our advanced fiber technology to residents and businesses in our Louisiana footprint.”
Hessenthaler continued, “In addition to our initial network build scope, we welcome the opportunity to work with key stakeholders at state and local levels to further expand fiber-based internet availability through participation in Louisiana’s Granting Unserved Municipalities Broadband Opportunities (GUMBO) program and other initiatives as they arise."
According to a press statement, Brightspeed will initially be comprised of the incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) assets and associated operations of Lumen Technologies (NYSE: LUMN), which are the subject of a pending acquisition by Apollo-managed funds (NYSE: APO). The company recently announced that it had secured all necessary state-required regulatory approvals in the 20 states in its operating footprint. The parties expect to obtain final FCC approval in the third quarter, and to close the transaction in early fourth quarter.
Brightspeed intends to invest at least $2 billion in its fiber optics transformation, which is expected to reach up to 3 million homes and businesses over the next five years, including in many rural and suburban locations where fiber and advanced technology have not historically been deployed. The company said it has been ramping its network design and construction planning as it prepares for day one operations across its multistate operating territory.
Brightspeed said its FTTP architecture is being engineered to help accelerate deployment and market availability. The company is utilizing the latest technology innovations, including XGS-PON, capable of symmetrical internet speeds exceeding 1Gbps, and Wi-Fi 6 for optimal performance and coverage to support the multitude of connected devices within homes and businesses.
Brightspeed said it plans to announce its other state-specific network build plans in the coming weeks.