Shentel adds another 'key piece' to fiber growth plan in PA

Shenandoah Telecommunications' (Shentel) broadband service has launched in initial neighborhoods in Spring Garden Township, Pennsylvania, through its Glo Fiber brand. 

Construction in the community is expected to be completed by the end of 2024, providing over 4,500 homes and businesses with a direct fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) internet connection, and symmetrical upload and download speeds up to 5 Gbps. The Glo Fiber FTTH network taps into Shentel's 9,300-mile regional fiber network, which reaches across markets in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia.

In addition to gigabit internet, Glo TV streaming services, phone services and Glo Fiber's Wall-to-Wall Wi-Fi service are also available in the new Pennsylvania market.

Chris Kyle, Shentel's VP of industry and regulatory affairs said the company has been "very active" working with the state's York County municipalities to bring fiber to residents and businesses over the past two years. 

"Spring Garden Township is another key piece in our growth plan for the area," said Kyle in a company announcement.

Last year Shentel said it is employing Render Networks' construction management platform to handle the FTTH expansions for its Glo Fiber brand. Render's platform will be used in all markets where Shentel is building, and was already in three markets as of October 2023.

In the third quarter of 2023 Shentel's Glo Fiber expanded its coverage by nearly 20,000 new passings, pushing the company's total to 200,000. That means Glo Fiber increased passings 55% year over year. “Our Glo Fiber passings are now almost the size of our cable market passings,” said Shentel CEO Christopher French during earnings.

The company also late last year announced it would acquire Horizon Telecom. With that deal expected to close in 2024 and accelerated construction anticipated across all the Glo Fiber markets,” French noted the company expects “to double broadband passings again by the end of 2026.”

The $385 million Horizon deal will double the size of Shentel’s commercial fiber business and give the operator a foothold outside its Mid-Atlantic footprint. Based in Ohio, Horizon has 14,000 fiber passings within its ILEC footprint and has passed around 18,000 homes in greenfield markets adjacent to its commercial network.

As of its third-quarter earnings Shentel projected roughly a 25% increase in its number of fiber passings between 2022 and 2023.