Brightspeed gets greenlight on $8M Texas fiber build

Henderson County, Texas last week gave Brightspeed the go-ahead on an $8 million fiber broadband project that aims to connect nearly 5,000 locations.

Of that funding amount, $2.3 million is from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). According to the Athens Daily Review, Brightspeed plans to build around 115 miles of fiber and complete the project in early-to-mid 2026.

A Brightspeed rep told Fierce the company hasn’t formally announced the project yet, but it will fund 72% of the build “or about $5.79 million.”

“We will continue to partner with the county to pursue state and federal funding to augment our planned builds in Texas,” said the rep, adding Henderson County is within Brightspeed’s footprint and part of its multi-year fiber investment.

Henderson County Judge Wade McKinney said Brightspeed will provide “a minimum of 200 Mbps all the way up to a gig” in download speeds.

“That is completely a quantum leap from [what] any of us know now,” he said at the Commissioners’ Court meeting on November 7. The county awarded Brightspeed the bid earlier this year, McKinney added.

He said both Brightspeed and Charter Communications responded to Henderson County’s RFP. For Charter’s part, the operator has built “almost up to 300 miles of infrastructure put along [the county’s] right of ways.”

Texas seems to be ripe for broadband investment, as it scored $3.3 billion – the highest state allocation – from the federal government’s Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program.

Brightspeed began operations just over a year ago, after closing a $7.5 billion deal to acquire Lumen ILEC assets in 20 states. It officially launched its fiber service on March 1, and is currently constructing fiber in 17 states.

A Brightspeed spokesperson told Fierce in October the company sees “a significant opportunity” to pursue the BEAD program.

“Our goal is to augment our $2 billion investment for our planned fiber build currently underway and expand our build where there is chance to meet BEAD Program requirements,” said the spokesperson at the time.

But as Brightspeed works on its builds, it’s running into roadblocks with permitting and pole attachment agreements. According to CEO Tom Maguire, Brightspeed has around 50,000 locations held up by permitting.