We hear a lot in the UK about how challenger networks, the altnets, are playing a significant role in the rollout of fibre, but what is less apparent to us is that a similar picture is emerging in the United States.
Much has been published about the strides taken by Tier 1 telco’s (AT&T, Verizon, Frontier and Lumen) to drive rollout and a great deal is being achieved. Jonathan Chaplin, equity analyst for New Street Research was quoted as saying “We now think that [homes passed] could increase by 20 million to 60 million over the next decade if the telecom companies successfully execute on their plans,” but whilst these organisations currently control more than 65% of FTTH build, it is the Tier 2 and Tier 3 fibre providers that are going to make a huge difference, taking high speed connectivity to places that would otherwise not be reached.
One such organisation is Vexus Fiber that operates throughout Texas and Louisiana. They are planning $250 million investment in Albuquerque – a significant proportion of it on construction of its fibre network.
Interestingly from a European perspective, CEO Jim Gleason said the company plans to run fibre optic cable directly to homes and businesses, near where telephone and power lines connect, making use of the path of existing utilities.
“We’re going to be going in with a fiber line that’s going to go right alongside all of those utilities,”
Beyond Albuquerque Vexus hopes to expand out into other parts of New Mexico and is reaching out to agencies offering rural broadband funds, and will look to grow its network to rural parts of the state once it’s established in Albuquerque. According to website BroadbandNow, New Mexico currently ranks 49th in broadband access.