Mediacom expands fiber network to two more rural Iowa cities

Mediacom is making progress in bridging the digital divide across rural Iowa, as it just wrapped up two fiber expansion projects in the towns of Rutland and Williams. Residents can now sign up for broadband plans with up to 2-gig download speeds as well as low-cost phone plans.

Including these two projects, Mediacom has built fiber in 12 communities in collaboration with the Empower Iowa Rural Broadband Grant Program. The public-private partnership has allowed the operator to bring fiber to over 1,600 rural Iowa locations.

Tom Larsen, Mediacom’s SVP of government and public relations, added Mediacom has “other fiber locations in Iowa that were built outside of this program with entirely private capital.”

According to Mediacom, it and the state of Iowa have invested $4.4 million in expanding broadband to underserved Iowa communities. The Rutland and Williams projects were part of round seven of the Empower Iowa grant program.

“We have applied for additional funding to build 2,800 more homes and businesses in Round 8 of the Empower Rural Iowa Program, and are waiting for the State of Iowa to announce the Round 8 winners,” Larsen told Fierce.

Mediacom in September inked a deal with Nokia to leverage the vendor’s XGS-PON technology for rural fiber deployments. Larsen confirmed that tech was used for the Rutland and Williams builds.

Mediacom is a privately held company, so it doesn’t provide quarterly subscriber counts or revenue figures. Larsen said the operator has 1.4 million actual customers on its network, but it offers broadband to 3.3 million homes and businesses across its 22-state territory.

Larsen previously told Fierce Mediacom is working to upgrade its hybrid-fiber-coax (HFC) plant in Iowa to a new 10G platform, which will eventually expand into other markets.

He noted the operator “continues to make great progress” with its 10G upgrade.

“We are putting the finishing touches on the West Des Moines project and are beginning work in Des Moines and other Iowa communities,” said Larsen.

All told, Mediacom has completed approximately 5,000 fiber passings using grant funds, with over 20,000 passings still under construction. In addition to Iowa, Larsen said the company is undertaking fiber grant projects in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

While Larsen didn’t say how much of its overall footprint is served with fiber, he said the operator will continue to be “an active participant in numerous state broadband grant programs.”

“We expect a lot of competition for the grant dollars, so it is hard to predict how many fiber homes we will ultimately build,” he said.