Last year at this time we provided a look, “By the Numbers”, at our Fiber to the Premise accomplishments for 2016. We are still committed to building fiber to every customer, but as we’ve said in the past, it will take time.
This year we share our 2017 accomplishments for the former OTT service area AND the rest of our OTELCO service area in Alabama and Missouri. One of the reasons for our corporate re-brand and consolidation was to better leverage the vast knowledge base that exists throughout the OTELCO service footprints. The benefit of that is evidenced by the fact that in 2017 we more than quadrupled the number of fiber miles constructed in 2016.
2017 OTELCO Fiber Expansion: By the Numbers
In 2017 our total capital investment was $ 1,927,000, which, along with an additional $78,000 from a ConnectME Authority grant in Maine, we were able to build 92.1 miles of fiber to serve a total of 2,039 new locations.
With the infrastructure we constructed in 2017, OTELCO now owns, operates, or leases approximately 3,700 miles of fiber, and offers FTTP to more than 3,000 locations in 4 states. This is but a fraction of the geographic areas we serve, but it is progress.
We’ve talked a lot about the cost to build rural communication infrastructure, and how it’s difficult to make a viable business case to do so. We’ve also shared that the OTELCO companies were founded by local farmers and businessmen because the larger companies didn’t want to make that investment.
For each of the next 10 years, we plan to add at least 2,000 locations through our own investment, and are continually seeking other opportunities and creative ways to expand fiber broadband coverage.
Fiber Broadband Takes a Village
Currently, we are brainstorming with several municipalities to help them meet their community broadband goals. As we look to 2018, we will continue on our path to build fiber to every customer, one project at a time. More importantly, we continue to innovate creative ways to expedite the delivery of fiber broadband through public-private partnerships.
If your community is interested in exploring how a public-private partnership might help accelerate the deployment in your area, we can help. For starters, you might want to download our Municipal Broadband Primer.