Tuesday, July 6, 2021

A Quick Recap of Federal Broadband Investments and Fiber Construction

A tentative agreement was recently reached on a $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Framework which includes $65 billion in broadband investment. It’s the latest federal funding initiative looking to bolster the availability of high-speed Internet access to homes and more rural areas of the U.S.

Specific to the most recent deal, it’s projected that $40 billion would go directly to the states for rural broadband, $15 billion to the USDA ReConnect program, with the remaining $10 billion split between a bond program to fund public/private broadband partnerships and a digital equity program aimed at increasing broadband adoption.

Now, consider this funding on top of some of the announcements about building fiber in 2022 summarized in a recent blog post The Fiber Expansion Craze from CCG Consulting:

·       RDOF fiber construction probably starts next year.

·       It’s anticipated that much of the $10 billion earmarked for broadband in the ARPA plan will end up as fiber construction over the next two years. It’s also expected that some cities and counties will use some of the $350 billion in ARPA funds to build fiber.

·       The new NTIA grants expect fiber networks to be built in one year.

·       There are also beefed-up grant programs at USDA and EDA that will start next year.

·       Verizon is in the midst of a many-year fiber buildout to pass 25 million homes by 2025 with fiber to support its Verizon Home fiber-to-the-curb service.

·       AT&T announced it’s going to pass 3 million new homes and businesses this year and 2 million homes next year with fiber, to add to the 14.5 million already passed.

·       Altice has announced plans to upgrade 500,000 passings from HFC to fiber this year.

·       Frontier announced as it was coming out of bankruptcy that it plans to pass 495,000 homes with fiber this year.

·       CenturyLink is planning on passing at least 400,000 premises with fiber this year plus the company is still expanding its middle-mile fiber network.

·       Consolidated Communications plans on passing 300,000 homes with fiber this year.

·       Windstream plans to add several hundred thousand fiber passing this year.

·       Numerous smaller telcos like Ziply, TDS, and Cincinnati Bell have aggressive fiber expansion plans.

·       Numerous fiber projects from the CAF II reverse auction are now under construction.

·       Smaller telcos are continuing to build fiber under the ACAM program.

·       Dozens of electric cooperatives are building FTTP.

·       Numerous ReConnect grant projects from the past several years are now under construction.

·       State grants have funded significant fiber projects.

·       Independent fiber builders across the country like Google Fiber, MetroNet, US Internet, and numerous municipalities quietly continue to build fiber projects.

·       Cellular companies all continue to build fiber to replace cellular transport leases.

·       Long-haul fiber networks continue to expand.

·       Electric companies are aggressively expanding smart grid networks.

·       Cable companies use significant fiber every year to split nodes.

As we can all agree, the current demand period will not slow down any time soon. As such, allocating fiber with a well-positioned distributor like Comstar Supply is critical. We can create a customized solution for every type of customer that takes the guesswork out of your outside plant needs. We work with customers to tailor a solution that allows us to distribute fiber cable monthly based on need, while allowing for additions or subtractions to orders. To learn more, contact your local Comstar Supply rep today.

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