Cable operators are extending their broadband networks deeper into less-populated areas
Cable operators smashed records in 2020, adding more than 4 million customers in the first nine months of that year, fueled in part by the pandemic. But as hopes rise that COVID-19 will loosen its grip on the country, sending more people back to offices and schools and potentially softening broadband gains, many providers are looking toward the fringes of their footprints and extending their networks deeper into less-populated areas for growth. Extending the footprint, or making “edge-outs,” is nothing new for the industry. Many operators have occasionally extended their reach within certain territories as populations shifted or new businesses have emerged in less dense areas. But only recently have large and small operators focused on the fringe as a potential growth area, encouraged by improvements in technology and the availability of federal and state funds to extend their networks.