Fiber Minnesota merged with two other fiber transport carriers – Broadband Visions (BBV) and SM Broadband (SMB) – to create what it says is one of the state’s largest transport networks. The new entity will operate under the Fiber Minnesota brand. It will have a backbone of 3,900 route miles, which is 60 percent more than the network had before the move. The newly constituted company will reach “nearly all corners of the state,” including rural areas that often are left behind, with redundant connectivity.
Regional operator Horizon has acquired Consolidated Cooperative’s commercial fiber business in Ohio. The deal adds 450 fiber miles to augment Horizon’s existing Columbus (OH) network and extend northward through Delaware, Marion and Richland counties. Consolidated Cooperative’s separate residential fiber business was not part of the deal. Horizon said that Consolidated’s commercial clients will see no disruptions and will continue to be served according to the terms of their contracts. The company currently has more than 5,500 route miles of fiber in the Midwest.
The OpenVault Broadband Insights (OVBI) 2021 second-quarter report shows the percentage of subscribers with faster internet speeds is growing, and they are consuming much more data. During Q2 2021, the percentage of subscribers with 1 Gbps or faster service reached 10.5 percent compared with 4.8 percent provisioned for that speed in Q2 2020.
Mediacom Communications subsidiary MCC Iowa LLC filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission seeking review of the rights-of-way management practices of the city of West Des Moines and what the company calls the city’s exclusive relationship with Google Fiber. It focuses on what MCC Iowa says is a $50 million taxpayer financed conduit network that the city is building for the exclusive use of Google Fiber.
The State of Illinois will contribute $7 million toward a $22 million Shawnee Communications broadband expansion project in unserved and underserved areas in the southern part of the state. The funding comes through the Connect Illinois program. More than 2,550 residents in Mitchellsville, Rudement, Buncombe, Vienna, Pulleys Mill, and Goreville (Saline, Johnson and Williamson counties) will get broadband via a fiber to the home network. Some residents will get service in 2021, with project completion slated for 2023.
Comporium won a grant to increase broadband speeds in some areas of Transylvania County (NC) via a $2.8 million grant from North Carolina’s Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) Program. The improvements will require a total of more than $7 million to complete. The grant will help bring 1 Gbps service to more than 800 customers. It will feature construction of 105 miles of fiber in partnership with the Haywood Electric Membership Corp. The project is expected to take two years from the start date, which has not yet been established.
The percentage of broadband households that had a remote healthcare visit increased from 15% in 2019 to 41% in 2020, according to a telehealth adoption report from Parks Associates. The firm also found that 29% of respondents are very likely to add at least one health related product during the next year. About half of parents of children under 18 years of age have “high intent” to add a connected medical product. That group is followed by current telehealth service users at a bit over 40%. About 25% of all U.S. broadband households are likely to do so.
CARES Act broadband funding helped enable the town of Bristol, New Hampshire, to deploy 24 miles of fiber to pass 400 Bristol residences and connect to Plymouth State University. The CARES Act funding was a $1.52 million grant. In a separate project, additional fiber backbone and fiber distribution will be deployed to connect all Bristol municipal, educational and commercial buildings with funding through a Northern Border Regional Commission grant and town appropriation.
In what they say is a first, five electric cooperatives in three states have formed an association of broadband co-ops aimed at bolstering services in underserved rural areas. The Virginia, Maryland & Delaware Association of Broadband Cooperatives (VMDABC) is structurally modeled after existing cooperative associations. VMDABC will offer classes of membership based on types of co-op members and their goals. VMDABC classes of membership will include co-op affiliates offering retail fiber, co-ops pursuing middle mile or “backbone” fiber, other broadband entities, and vendors.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) has asked the Federal Communications Commission to reject efforts by West Virginia legislators to block Frontier Communications’ successful bid for Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) funding. Frontier won $247 million to serve almost 79,000 locations in the state. It says that it will bring gigabit connectivity to many of those locations. The company is currently in bankruptcy, but expects to emerge in the first quarter of 2021.