Omni Fiber enters PA in pursuit of Midwest market share

Omni Fiber is continuing its expansion in Ohio and beyond with new projects underway in Pennsylvania to provide small towns with access to fiber Internet plans up to 2 Gbps, traditional and streaming TV options as well as phone service.  

CEO Darrick Zucco told Fierce that Omni is focused on becoming “a preferred option to existing providers in the market.”

Ohio-based Omni has already started construction in Bucyrus, Defiance, Eaton, Fremont, Greenville, London, Monroeville, Mount Gilead, New Philadelphia, Perkins Township, Perrysburg, Sandusky, and Wooster. And projects will be starting shortly in Ashland, Ballville Township, Catawba Island, Crestline, Mansfield, Marblehead, Mount Vernon, New Washington, Norwalk, Ontario, Pataskala and Upper Sandusky.

Omni is also entering its first markets outside of Ohio with construction now afoot in Western Pennsylvania, including in North Uniontown, South Uniontown, portions of Uniontown and starting soon in Connellsville and South Connellsville.

The multimillion-dollar investments in each area will be fully funded by Omni Fiber.

Zucco said Omni will contract out the construction work to multiple firms in the area. He noted that because the operation is not reliant on government subsidies, loans or other taxpayer assistance, Omni has no restrictions with the Buy America rules. 

Once its network is built, Omni uses a mix of internal employees and contractors to repair, maintain and install new customers. Although the labor market is tight across the industry, Zucco said the bigger concern is labor inflation as “costs have risen significantly over the last several years.”

New installations are expected to begin this fall and into early next year, depending on the area. The company encouraged residents and small business owners to reach out via its website if they are interested in being among the first to receive service once construction is complete in their area.

Omni Fiber launched service in 2022 after securing $250 million in funding from Oak Hill Capital for a plan to cover a quarter of a million locations across Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania. The same year, Omni acquired regional service provider Ohio Telecom for an undisclosed sum to speed its plans to reach 250,000 locations across the Midwest.

At the time Zucco said the Midwest region “seems to have the best mix of competition, relaxed regulatory environment and cost to build. There are many small towns that are hungry for what we have to offer.”

Now, the provider has service in 11 markets in Ohio including Bellevue, Clyde, Dover, Green Springs, Huron, Port Clinton, Oak Harbor, Shelby, Tiffin, Wauseon and Wilmington. 

Omni’s current capital commitments involve construction of “several hundred thousand households and businesses,” Zucco said, and the company expects to end 2023 with “around 75,000 locations passed.”