Consolidated Communications will upgrade 300K locations with fiber in 2021

Consolidated Communications, a regional telco that provides services in Northern New England, said that it plans to increase its fiber coverage to 300,000 more locations in 2021 and will cover 70% of its footprint with gigabit broadband services by 2025.

The company, which reported its fourth quarter earnings last Friday, said that it plans to spend between $400 million and $420 million in 2021 to support its fiber expansion plans.

Consolidated reported revenues of $326.1 million in the fourth quarter, a decline of 1.5% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The decline was attributed to a decline in network access revenues and continued decline in voice services.

However, the company said its commercial and carrier data transport revenues increased 3.2% to $2.9 million and its consumer broadband revenue grow 2.8% to $1.8 million, which was its seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.

For the full year, Consolidated reported revenue of $1.3 billion, a decline of 2.4%. However, the company also said that the number of fiber lit buildings increased 11% during the year and it built more than 1,000 fiber-route miles during the year. Capital expenditures in 2020 were $217.6 million.

Public-private partnership

Consolidated also said that it has already expanding its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) network to three towns in New Hampshire including Dublin, Rindge and Westmoreland. It is in the process of connecting the towns of Walpole and Harrisville, which will give the company more than 8,000 new locations in Cheshire County that can get 1-Gig services.  

These fiber projects are part of a public-private partnership that Consolidated worked on with the Westmoreland Broadband Advisory Committee. The cost of the fiber projects was $13 million and included a $4 million investment from Consolidated. The towns involved in the fiber expansion issued bonds for their broadband infrastructure.

Consolidated also partnered with the state of New Hampshire to expand and enhance broadband to more than 2,000 residents and businesses in the towns of Danbury, Springfield, Mason and Errol.