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The Buildout: Flume goes west, Kinetic connects Cooks County

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This week in broadband builds: Flume expands to California (and Connecticut), Kinetic connects Cooks County, Georgia, Spectrum's GREAT grants, WOW! starts greenfield builds in Central Florida – and more.

The Buildout is a column from Light Reading tracking broadband network deployments. This week we're tracking fiber and fixed wireless builds reaching over 3.1 million locations across the US. Send us your news right here. Keep up with every installment of The Buildout here.

  • Flume Internet – an ISP that delivers broadband by lighting up last-mile dark fiber connections – announced today that it's expanding to the West Coast, with a planned network in Los Angeles County, California. The LA network is expected to ultimately reach over 3 million households. "Expansion in Los Angeles County has been made possible through the partnership with both the local government and real estate developers," said Flume in a press release. The company will also expand to East Hartford, Connecticut, where it will be available to over 18,000 homes by early 2023. Today's announcement marks Flume's first expansion since launching in New York City in 2020, where it has since helped bring affordable broadband to the city's public housing residents.

Light Reading spoke with Flume's CEO Prashanth Vijay about the company's broadband plans in NYC last year for The Divide podcast: Listen Now

  • Kinetic by Windstream announced plans to bring fiber broadband to more than 3,700 homes and businesses in unserved and underserved areas of Cooks County, Georgia. The $17.3 million project will be funded with $11 million from the state's American Rescue Plan funds plus $6.3 million from Kinetic. The project will see Kinetic build 325 miles of fiber underground and is expected to wrap up by the end of 2026, according to a press release. This week, Kinetic also announced that its 2-Gig service is now available in "46 more residential markets."
  • North Carolina has signed off on more grants for Spectrum to build out broadband in the state. Most recently, Spectrum received a $3.5 million Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Program grant to bring gigabit broadband to more than 1,320 homes and small businesses in Wake County. With the state's $3.5 million and $50,000 from the county, Spectrum is investing $580,000 for a total of $4.2 million. In addition to Wake County, Spectrum will receive $4 million to bring broadband to 1,430 homes and small businesses in Warren County. Spectrum will contribute $1.2 million in addition to the state's grant and a $250,000 investment from the county for a total project cost of $5.4 million.
  • Metronet announced that its network is now available to the majority of households in Bettendorf, Iowa. The company has installed more than 320 miles of fiber in the region since starting construction in 2019. Metronet construction is also underway in Bryan, Texas, where the company announced its multi-gig service is now available to some residents.
  • Construction has started on WOW!'s fiber build in Altamonte Springs, in Seminole County, Florida. According to the company, this marks WOW's "first Greenfield market in Central Florida." The company announced plans earlier this year to invest $400 million to broaden its greenfield buildouts, and it expanded its greenfield plans in Central Florida from 100,000 to 150,000 homes.
  • NT Spark – a subsidiary of Natchez Trace Electric Power Association in Mississippi – finished a buildout to connect over 13,500 locations in regions of Calhoun, Chickasaw, Clay, Grenada, Pontotoc, Webster and Yalobusha. The build was funded with over $14.65 million in state and federal grants, according to local reporting, and construction began in September 2020. "Just a little over 2 years later, NT Spark has completed its full system build on time and has connected more than 4,000 subscribers to high-speed internet to date," said NT Spark in a Facebook post. We will continue to open remaining Calhoun City zones throughout the remainder of 2022 and early 2023."
  • United Fiber – an ISP serving parts of Northwest Missouri since 2013 – announced it will invest over $50 million to bring its fiber network to an additional 36,000 homes and businesses in St. Joseph, Missouri. The company reportedly started building fiber "on the outskirts of St. Joseph" back in 2015 and started making plans to build into St. Joseph over the past year. United Fiber currently has roughly 4,000 customers in St. Joseph.
  • In Ohio, the Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners voted to approve a contract with Ohio Transparent Telecom (OhioTT) to build out broadband to 6,000-8,000 residents. The decision comes after the county issued a request for proposals. According to a press release, OhioTT was "the sole qualified respondent." The fixed wireless project will cost an estimated $636,000 and will involve using existing towers and the construction of a new micro tower. Commissioners said they hope initial service will be available by the spring of 2023.

Author: Nicole Ferraro, editor, Light Reading, and host of "​​The Divide" podcast. Featuring Prashanth Vijay, Flume CEO