Brightspeed plans fiber boost for Louisiana

Brightspeed, a new fiber player which is buying Lumen’s ILEC assets in 20 states and is led by former Verizon executives, announced Louisiana as the sixth state set to benefit from its ambitious multi-year deployment plan. Though it has yet to reveal additional plans for individual states, COO Tom Maguire told Fierce it is targeting work across “virtually all of our state footprint” this year and next.

The operator recently secured the last state regulatory approval required for its deal with Lumen and said it expects to wrap up the transaction in Q4. As part of the deal, it will acquire around 7 million addressable locations.

Following the close of the deal, Maguire said Brightspeed will “hit the ground running on Day 1” with its fiber rollout. He added from the time the deal wraps in 2022 to the end of 2023 Brightspeed is planning to “hit upwards of 200 wire centers" across nearly all of its 20-state footprint, though noted certain variables could affect the timing of its work in each state.

“One of the nice things about our footprint is we cover states that have mild winters, which will help us smooth out the build,” Maguire explained. “In our northern territory, we are working with our partners to do whatever we can in spite of the weather. The bottom line is that we know folks are waiting for high-speed fiber, and we intend to pull out all stops to get to them as quickly as we can.”

In Louisiana, the operator is planning to deploy fiber to as many as 14,000 locations across Acadia, Calcasieu, Evangeline, Franklin, Jefferson Davis and Webster parishes by the end of 2023. All told, it said it expects to reach up to 28,000 locations over the coming years.

The initial locations in Louisiana will contribute to Brightspeed’s goal of reaching 1 million new locations with fiber by the end of 2023 and 3 million over the next five years.

Already it has announced planned deployments in Ohio, Alabama, North Carolina, Virginia and Texas. Together with Louisiana, these states will account for more than 70% of Brightspeed’s 1 million location target.

To date, the largest build it has announced will be in North Carolina, where it plans to roll out fiber to 300,000 locations next year. It is also targeting 170,000 locations in Ohio and 120,000 in Texas by the end of 2023. So far all of the states where it has announced build plans are within the footprint it is acquiring from Lumen.