Lumos eyes Mid-Atlantic expansion, targets 80K new passings in 2022

Fresh off its separation from Segra, regional fiber provider Lumos Networks is plotting an ambitious expansion of its residential service and the rollout of a new multi-gig service tier designed to keep it one step ahead of the competition.

Lumos Networks currently serves around 200,000 residential and small and medium business customers in Virginia and North Carolina under the Lumos and NorthState brands. The company was formerly part of Segra, but became a standalone entity in October when Segra closed the sale of its commercial and carrier business to Cox Communications.

CEO Diego Anderson told Fierce that going forward, Lumos plans to “double down within Virginia and North Carolina” to serve areas where it can be first with fiber but sees additional opportunity all across the Mid-Atlantic region. He pointed to expected funding from the recently passed infrastructure bill and public-private partnerships such as the one it struck to complete a recent expansion in the Alleghany Highlands of Virginia as tailwinds for its growth plan.

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“The footprint for what was Segra was the Mid-Atlantic region and so we know those markets very well…we think there’s the opportunity to use that knowledge of those states to also build out fiber to the home more aggressively,” he explained, adding “We’ll targets areas, I would say, from Pennsylvania down to Florida.”

While it’s still developing its multi-year strategy following the appointment of a new executive leadership team earlier this month, Anderson said it is aiming to build out upwards of 80,000 new fiber passings in 2022. He added the company is also preparing for the imminent launch of a 2 Gbps residential service tier across its entire footprint. It currently offers 100 Mbps, 200 Mbps, 500 Mbps and 1-gig plans.

“What we find is that if you can go into a marketplace where there is no gigabit provider or one gigabit provider you can do very well in those marketplaces,” he said. “A lot of times those locations would consist of the cable company with their coaxial DOCSIS 3.1 that they’re offering. So we’re seeing a lot of that, where there’s one gigabit provider and we’re coming in saying ‘hey we want to be the fiber provider to compete in those territories.’”

Several other fiber providers are also plotting the rollout of multi-gig service to give them an edge over cable competitors. These include Frontier Communications, TDS Telecom and Consolidated Communications.

"A lot of customers are seeing a need for more speed based on their applications and that's the advantage that fiber gives you. And so we'll be able to continue to send them up stack with our multi-gig product. That's going to be a really huge solution for us," Anderson concluded.