Brightspeed goes big with Missouri fiber build plan

Market announcements from new fiber provider Brightspeed continued to roll this week, with the company setting its sights on a substantial buildout in Missouri as its latest target.

In a press release, the company said it plans to reach more than 130,000 locations across 19 counties in the state by the end of 2023. That figure is set to jump to more than 310,000 by the end of its five-year build plan.

At least for its initial build, projects will span Boone, Carroll, Cass, Cedar, Dent, Gasconade, Howell, Jackson, Johnson, Lafayette, Lawrence, Marion, Moniteau, Nodaway, Oregon, Phelps, St. Charles, Texas and Wright counties.

The announcement makes Missouri the third largest build target for 2023 that Brightspeed has announced to date. The operator previously stated it is aiming to reach 300,000 locations in North Carolina and 170,000 locations in Ohio next year as it strives for a total of 1 million locations reached in 2023.

Brightspeed also hinted it is looking to secure grant funding to extend its reach even further across the state, with COO Tom Maguire stating it will work “stakeholders at state and local levels to further expand fiber-based internet in our serving territory through the Missouri Department of Economic Development Broadband Infrastructure grant program, and other opportunities as they arise.”

The comment is notable given Missouri’s state legislature earlier this year passed a budget bill which included $372 million for broadband development, the News Tribune reported. Approximately $250 million of that will go toward investments in broadband infrastructure across the state.

Missouri marks the seventh state where Brightspeed has said it will be building fiber in its first year in operation. Besides the aforementioned builds in North Carolina and Ohio, it is also planning work in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas and Virginia.

But it is not that last market announcement coming from the operator. Brightspeed’s parent company Apollo Global Management is in the final stages of closing a deal to acquire ILEC assets in 20 states from Lumen Technologies and Brightspeed has said additional state-specific plans will be announced over the coming weeks.