AT&T, Comcast, Altice, Charter win big as Louisiana awards $129.5M for broadband

A small local telecom called Star Communications emerged the top winner as Louisiana divvied up $129.5 million in broadband grants, but top tier players AT&T, Altice USA, Charter Communications and Comcast each also walked away with a hefty chunk of change.

Star Communications received a total of $28.2 million from Louisiana’s GUMBO grant program to connect more than 9,200 locations across two parishes (the state’s equivalent of counties). CableSouth/Swift Fiber was close behind with a total of $25.69 million in awards spanning seven parishes.

Of the major players, AT&T won the most, walking away with $19 million to build fiber to nearly 9,800 locations in 13 parishes. The operator said it plans to start design and engineering work as soon as it signs a final contract with the state. Its GUMBO-funded projects will add to the more than 420,000 passings the operator already has in Louisiana.

Altice USA, which applied for grants via its CSC Holdings LLC subsidiary, scored a total of $16.1 million in awards to reach more than 9,100 locations in parts of 15 parishes. The awards follow reports that Altice is looking to sell its Suddenlink assets. Louisiana is part of Altice’s Suddenlink footprint. Earlier this month, Altice also won a $6 million broadband grant from the state of Arizona to build fiber to more than 7,000 homes in two counties. Arizona is also in its Suddenlink territory.

Asked whether a deal was in the works, an Altice representative told Fierce it doesn’t comment on rumors.

Charter and Comcast also each won substantial sums. The former bagged $10.1 million to cover just over 2,100 homes across three parishes while the latter was awarded $7.88 million to connect more than 1,100 locations in two parishes.

The wins in Louisiana are just the latest state grant awards Charter has landed. In February, it won $12.2 million for projects in Georgia and last month it scored $49.9 million to cover approximately 18,000 unserved locations in Kentucky. And earlier this month, it received $8.5 million from the state of Maryland. The operator is also pursuing $35 million in grants in Tennessee.

Other GUMBO winners included Conexon Connect, which won nearly $4 million to build to 851 locations in East Carroll Parish, and Vexus Fiber, which got $2.17 million for a project in Tangipahoa Parish. Additionally, Cox Communications snagged just over $665,000 for projects in two parishes.