Ziply Talks Edge-Out and FWA Plans

Ziply named Yakima, WA, as both its 100th fiber market and its first official edge-out market last month as CEO Harold Zeitz aims to move aggressively to deploy fiber in more edge-out locations.

Impact: Ziply Fiber continues to pursue a strategy of expansion through a combination of means, including its multi-year effort to upgrade its four-state legacy copper footprint with fiber, acquisitions to supplement those fiber upgrades, and now edge-out opportunities where it can deploy fiber additional locations to extend its footprint.

Source: Ziply Fiber

Zeitz told Light Reading recently that the Ziply is roughly halfway to its goal of covering 80%-85% of the footprint it inherited from Frontier in 2020 with fiber. The company raised $450 million last fall, including from cable operator Cable One, to put toward edge-out and greenfield fiber opportunities and Yakima marks the start of that effort.

Ziply has already started construction on its network in Yakima, where city officials had been asking the company to start offering service and Ziply will run up against competition from incumbents Charter and Lumen. The number of locations targeted in Yakima has been rather vague, with Ziply noting the buildout will cover “tens of thousands” of addresses” with its 2 Gbps and 5 Gbps multi-gigabit service tiers. Zeitz added that additional edge-outs will hinge on how fast Ziply can get them done and how willing each town is to work with the company, but he noted the company wants to focus on small cities and towns that have been left out of fiber deployments until now.

The company also recently announced plans to acquire Washington State-based Ptera, Inc., to fill in gaps in its fiber coverage in eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Ptera has a subscriber base of approximately 4K customers across four counties. But the bigger news in this deal may be the fixed wireless assets Ziply also purchased in the sale, the company’s fourth since last June. According to Zeitz, those assets will help Ziply extend its high-speed broadband coverage beyond where it can economically take fiber by itself, although public-private partnerships and other public funding opportunities are also on the table. But when Ziply does use fixed wireless to extend its broadband service, it will do so selectively.

Zeitz said Ziply has set a goal to build out fiber to a few hundred thousand locations each year, with costs currently running roughly $900-$1,000 per location. At that rate it should meet its fiber expansion target within several years, although the project launched in 2021 was originally described as a three-year effort. Ziply has announced a number of fiber expansion and upgrade projects already in 2023, including expanding service in Banks and Riddle, OR, and upgrading existing networks in Glendale, OR, and Westport, WA, so it’s moving right along as it works to blanket the Pacific Northwest with fiber. Analyst: Maura Sullivan April 4, 2023 Source: Ziply Fiber

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