Wire 3 plants 10-gig flag in Florida to take on AT&T, Charter

Florida’s fiber market is heating up, with Wire 3 the latest contender in new kind of space race taking shape within the state’s borders. Jai Ramachandran, Wire 3 CEO, told Fierce the company is looking plant its flag and deploy service in as many areas as possible along central Florida’s east coast as quickly as possible. After securing funding from Guggenheim in late 2021, the company broke ground in February and is set to connect its first customers in New Smyrna Beach this week.

Wire 3’s opening shot is a 10-gig service designed to lure subscribers away from both other fiber upstarts and broadband incumbents like AT&T and Charter Communications. For customers who sign up while its network is still being built, the service is priced at $60 per month. Once that promotional period ends, it will cost $120. That compares to the $100 to $150 per month price tags larger companies like AT&T, Ziply Fiber, Google Fiber and Frontier have attached to their 2-gig services.

Ramachandran said the ability to say it offers 10-gig is primarily just a marketing tool today, and most customers that have signed up understand that while the network can provide those speeds most routers and laptops don’t yet support that. “But as Wi-Fi 6E and 7 get deployed, as more high bandwidth usage cases get launched, we think it’s going to be a real differentiator. It’s going to be a tough one for not just the cable companies but anyone that deployed GPON technology to keep up with,” he said.

The operator is looking to grow its network from Jacksonville to Miami, with planned deployments in Volusia, Brevard, Indian River and St. Lucie counties. Ramachandran declined to disclose the company’s revenue and subscriber targets, but said its primary focus right now is accelerating rollouts due to the number of other operators eyeing opportunities in Florida. Among others, WideOpenWest, Clearwave Fiber, MetroNet and IQ Fiber have announced plans for greenfield builds or network expansions in the state.

“That’s why our team is laser-focused on how fast can we execute on our plan, how fast can we build new neighborhoods, how do we create a machine that’s churning out not just 1,000 or 2,000 passes a month but 10 or 15,000 passes a month,” he said. “Our growth targets are very aggressive only because we know if we don’t reach an area, someone else will build it before we do.”

The CEO added thus far the consumer response to its limited marketing efforts has been “outstanding." Despite a lack of brand recognition, it’s been able to achieve between 3% and 5% adoption rates, he said.

“The overwhelming commentary is ‘I don’t know what I pay right now, I don’t know how much bandwidth I have, I just know I dislike it and I deserve something better,’” Ramachandran concluded.