Brightspeed’s planned fiber passings top 1M across 13 states

New ISP Brightspeed is now planning fiber expansion work in more than a dozen states, this week outlining its ambition to reach tens of thousands of new locations across South Carolina and Kansas.

The operator is targeting up to 14,000 passings in South Carolina by the end of 2023, with plans to hit an additional 36,000 passings by the end of its five-year buildout. Brightspeed noted its initial build will focus on Beaufort County, which sits on the Atlantic coast of the state and is home to vacation destination Hilton Head Island.

In Kansas, Brightspeed said it is aiming to reach 10,000 new passings by the end of next year. An additional 45,000 locations are part of its plan for subsequent years. There, it will begin with projects in Brown, Johnson and Miami counties. Brown and Johnson counties are in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Brightspeed previously laid out plans to reach 1 million passings by the end of 2023 and 3 million within five years following the close of its acquisition of Lumen Technologies’ ILEC assets in 20 states. Over the past few months, it has announced builds in North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Ohio, Louisiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Arkansas in addition to the newly unveiled projects in Kansas and South Carolina.

Build plans for end-2023 which have been announced to date span 13 states and 1.09 million passings. Though supply chain, labor and other issues have been plaguing the industry, a Brightspeed representative told Fierce it has a "high degree of confidence" it will be able to hit the targets it has set for 2023. 

"Over the last year, we have been working continuously on the design, construction and supply chain preparations necessary to both hit the ground running, and to sustain build momentum," the representative said.

Asked whether the presence of fiber overbuilders might impact its plans, the representative indicated it is "not especially concerned" about such competitors in the areas it is targeting. "We are in this for the long haul -- over the course of the next five years, we do expect our build to adjust with the demand and other factors, and we will be able to pivot."

It’s possible more projects could be revealed in the coming weeks. In July, COO Tom Maguire told Fierce the operator is looking to begin work across “virtually all of our state footprint” this year and next.

The other states where Brightspeed will be acquiring Lumen’s assets include Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey and Oklahoma. That deal is expected to be completed in early Q4 2022.