Exclusive: LTD Broadband rebrands as GigiFi Internet

*Update March 20, 2023 - Several days after publication of this story, LTD Broadband said it received notification that the name "GigiFi" infringed on another company's trademark. Therefore, LTD Broadband is going to instead rename as "GigFire."

After a tough two years, LTD Broadband is hoping to turn the page in 2023 and start a new chapter with a new name to match: GigiFi Internet.

LTD Broadband has been operating as a fiber and fixed wireless access (FWA) operator under its current name since its founding in 2011. But CEO Corey Hauer told Fierce the new moniker is designed to draw attention to “our focus [on] gigabit FTTH and gigabit FWA in small cities and rural areas.”

“GigiFi recently crossed 11,000 [fiber-to-the-home] FTTH passings and we are rapidly accelerating our FTTH build pace,” he explained. “GigiFi is simultaneously building infrastructure to support hundreds of thousands of gigabit FWA passings. We are GigiFi-ing – gig enabling – our entire 2,500-tower network alongside our fiber network, which is how the name came to be.”

As it works to strengthen and expand its network, Hauer noted LTD recently brought on telecom consultant James Childs as its new Chief Strategy Officer.  

It was not immediately clear when the name change will be formalized. Hauer already has new business cards emblazoned with the GigiFi branding, but a website for GigiFi Internet says only that it is “coming soon.” Wave7 Research’s Jeff Moore drew Fierce’s attention to the new branding on Hauer’s business card.

“We strongly believe the market is demanding gig symmetrical service regardless of a customer being in ‘town’ or out in the country. GigiFi is going to deliver that in both urban and rural areas throughout our eight-state footprint,” Hauer said. Its territory includes Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Beyond more accurately reflecting LTD’s mission, the GigiFi name could help it shake off the cloud that seemed to cling to the company over the past two years.

LTD Broadband ended 2020 riding on a high, emerging as the top winner in the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction with $1.3 billion in winning bids. But trouble soon followed.

The operator found itself the subject of criticism from several trade groups – including the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) as well as telecom groups in Minnesota and Iowa – which questioned LTD's ability to fulfill its RDOF commitments. In mid-2021, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) denied its request for more time to prove its eligibility to claim its RDOF winnings and before the year was out LTD sued the Iowa Utilities Board in a vain attempt to secure its RDOF winnings there.

In the months that followed in 2022, LTD was fined twice by the FCC before the agency ultimately rejected its winning RDOF bids.

Moore said in a statement to Fierce he views the rebranding as a “positive” for LTD.

“’GigiFi’ implies gigabit speeds and people associate Wi-Fi with internet access, so it is a better name,” Moore said. “I’m looking forward to hearing the technical and network details about what GigiFi will be able to deliver.”