Ziply trots out fiber upgrades in four new markets

Ziply Fiber continues to ramp up its fiber builds in the Pacific Northwest, unveiling plans to upgrade four markets from copper to fiber across Washington and Oregon.

Fiber construction is already complete for hundreds of addresses in the cities of Banks and Riddle, Oregon. Ziply in the coming weeks intends to build out fiber to a “few hundred more” addresses in each town. The operator is also planning to introduce fiber upgrades in Glendale, Oregon and Westport, Washington.

Ziply CEO Harold Zeitz told Fierce migrating customers from copper to fiber is typically an efficient process, as “we generally see the vast majority of customers migrate to fiber do so within a month or two of availability.” He added that “once this happens, that portion of the copper network is effectively retired."

Within these markets, Ziply anticipates it will turn up its first batch of customers later this spring. For locations where fiber has yet to be built, Ziply expects network construction to take several months to complete.

The operator in a release noted network design and permitting are “well underway,” though the latter can hinder deployments, said Zeitz.

“The biggest challenge we see is when permitting processes from municipalities and utilities slow down building fiber out to the residents and businesses who are asking for it,” he said. “Those processes are often designed for broader types of construction instead of how streamlined our fiber construction process has become.”

Once permitting is squared away, Ziply’s construction crews will begin to run fiber aerially between telephone poles and in some cases, underground. Zeitz told Fierce last year that while stringing aerial fiber “continues to be the lowest cost method” of deployment, Ziply is also considering micro-trenching as a cheaper, less disruptive option.

Ziply began its fiber expansion efforts back in 2020, and since then it has announced construction projects in over 90 cities and towns across the Pacific Northwest.

The operator has previously stated plans to reach 80% of its footprint with fiber within three years. Zeitz noted the company’s fiber build remains on track, though he did not disclose Ziply’s annual build goal or the number of passings to date.

Ziply stands to gain 100,000 new passings via its recent acquisition of Washington State-based provider iFIBER. Zeitz told Fierce in December Ziply won’t build fiber in the areas covered by the acquisition.

As for future build locations, Zeitz tipped the operator plans to share its 100th city “very soon.”