Windstream teams up with electric co-op on $33M fiber project in Georgia

Updated to clarify Kinetic was the grant awardee, not Colquitt EMC.

Windstream’s Kinetic is taking on another public-private fiber partnership in Georgia, this time with help from an electric cooperative.

The project will cost $32.5 million and aims to connect a total of 17,000 homes and businesses in Colquitt County by next year. Kinetic will use $21.4 million in state grant money (from the American Rescue Plan Act) as well as its own investment of $11.1 million - and cover any cost overruns.

A Kinetic spokesperson said this public-private partnership is its largest in Georgia to date. The company is undertaking 25 public-private partnerships in Georgia alone and it has projects in states like Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

The release noted 9,700 locations, or some 40% of Colquitt County, are already eligible for Kinetic fiber. Meaning Kinetic has already built fiber to those locations, said the spokesperson, with plans to add 7,400 more customers with the new construction.

Michael Foor, president of Kinetic’s Georgia operations, said in a statement Colquitt EMC has been “an instrumental part in the delivery of fiber in its service area.”

As for the role the co-op plays in the public-private partnership, the Kinetic rep said Colquitt EMC “is supportive of the funding applications Windstream submitted to the state on behalf of these areas.”

“Colquitt EMC agreed to assist with make-ready and honor zero-cost pole attachments to support its members getting fiber optic internet service,” the spokesperson told Fierce Telecom. “This also provides a smart grid for future use of the EMC.”

Windstream has said it plans to build 95,000 new fiber locations in Georgia by the end of 2023. The spokesperson said Kinetic made “significant progress” towards that goal, “but full completion will shift into 2024.”

“Our build activity in the state of Georgia remains robust,” the rep added. “We have over 1,000 active construction projects in 37 counties across the state.”

Windstream’s a private company, so it doesn’t report quarterly subscriber and revenue metrics. But according to Kinetic President Jeff Small, Windstream is building 300,000 fiber passings a year across its 18-state footprint.