Brightspeed targets 170K fiber passings in Ohio for 2023

Brightspeed continues to double down on its fiber expansion, unveiling Ohio as its next target. The operator plans to pass over 170,000 locations across 12 Ohio counties by end of 2023.

And Brightspeed isn’t stopping at that number, saying it intends to reach an additional 210,000 Ohio locations within the next few years – a total goal of 380,000 passings in the state.

The Ohio build represents an ambitious goal, after Brightspeed earlier this month announced plans to pass an initial 300,000 locations in North Carolina by next year’s end. Brightspeed will then add 500,000 more locations in North Carolina as part of its five-year target.

The reason for the different build sizes is simple, Brightspeed Chief Operating Officer Tom Maguire told Fierce. Brightspeed’s North Carolina footprint is more than twice that of Ohio. North Carolina is the operator’s biggest state in terms of total households.

Target Ohio markets include Allen, Crawford, Lorain, Trumbull and Wayne counties. Of the dozen initial markets, Lorain and Trumbull counties have the largest populations, 312,964 and 201,977, respectively.

Chris Creager, chief administration officer at Brightspeed, said in a statement “we believe Ohioans will welcome a new competitive choice for internet and Wi-Fi, and we can't wait to introduce our high-quality products and our simple, straightforward approach to doing business."

Creager added Brightspeed looks forward to working with “key stakeholders like BroadbandOhio at state and local levels to expand the reach of our advanced fiber network to even more communities.”

Regarding Brightspeed’s competitors in the state, Maguire said they include everything from multiple system operators – both big and smaller companies – to cooperatives. However, Brightspeed is still keeping an eye on the market as it waits to acquire ILEC assets from Lumen Technologies.

The operator previously announced fiber expansion plans in Alabama as well as builds in Virginia and Texas. All told, Brightspeed aims to reach 1 million homes passed after its first full year of operation.

Lumen struck a $7.5 billion deal last year with Brightspeed’s parent company Apollo Global Management, selling its ILEC assets in 20 states. Brightspeed expects to inherit nearly 7 million passings from Lumen as part of the transaction.

The ILEC deal is expected to close in early Q4 2022. Maguire added Brightspeed just secured its final state approval in New Jersey – meaning the operator is now approved in all 20 states.