Brightspeed zeroes in on NC for initial fiber build, targeting 300K passings

Brightspeed is set to acquire ILEC assets in 20 states from Lumen Technologies later this year, but has already homed in on one of those as the focal point for its planned $2 billion fiber build. The operator revealed North Carolina will be the home of an initial project which aims to reach 300,000 locations across 30 counties by the end of 2023.

Target markets include the Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro, High Point and Winstem-Salem areas.

The initiative is part of Brightspeed’s larger goal to reach 1 million new fiber passings next year. The company, which is run by a team of former Verizon executives and backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management, currently expects its deal with Lumen to receive regulatory approvals in Q3 and close in early Q4. That will make 2023 its first full year in operation.

All told, Brightspeed is aiming to reach 3 million locations with fiber over the next five years.  

In a press release, the operator indicated North Carolina will account for just over 25% of its planned passings for the five-year target. That’s because it plans to pass 500,000 more locations there once its initial 300,000 passings goal is reached. It will acquire 60,000 existing fiber passings in the state once the deal with Lumen closes.

The company said it will announce additional state-specific build plans in the coming weeks.

Tom Maguire, Brightspeed COO, noted in a statement that in addition to its own build plans, the operator has also been evaluating opportunities to snag broadband funding from the state for additional work through the Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology (GREAT) and Completing Access to Broadband (CAB) grant programs.

"We are impressed by the transparency and effectiveness of the state's grant program and look forward to participating in a major way to bring even more fiber-based internet access to those who will benefit most,” Maguire stated.