Windstream, Time Warner Cable vie to build fiber network in Lexington, Ky.

Windstream and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) are among 12 companies that have expressed interest in building a fiber network throughout the city of Lexington, Ky., as a means to increase Internet speeds and expand overall broadband access.

The Internet speed issue in Lexington is dire: An Ookla study conducted in 2014 revealed that Lexington's 16.2 Mbps average speed ranks it 38th out of 96 Kentucky cities and towns where consumers can get Internet access.

City officials told the Lexington Herald Leader that a preliminary analysis from CTC showed it would cost from $175 to $200 million to build a fiber network. CTC is working with the state and Lexington to examine how it could build a fiber network using the city's existing infrastructure such as conduit and existing rights-of-way.

Aldona Valicenti, Lexington's chief information officer, said the city will issue a RFP in February. It is inviting either private companies, like Windstream or TWC, or a public-private partnership to build the proposed network.

Windstream and TWC were amongst the two largest service providers that responded to a request for information (RFI) the city issued last year.

Being a densely populated city, Windstream and TWC both have something to gain by winning a deal to build out a fiber network in Lexington.

For Windstream, the fit is clear. The provider has already rolled out its Kinetic IPTV service in Lexington, and the city is one of five markets where Windstream is trialing its 1 Gbps FTTH service. A new network could immediately further the reach of its last mile network to serve consumers and its growing business customer base.

Meanwhile, TWC will become a bigger provider when Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) completes its acquisition of the cable MSO later this year. Being the incumbent video provider and a broadband provider, TWC could also use a citywide network to backhaul its video traffic while increasing broadband speeds for local residential and business customers.

According to the Herald Leader, Lexington's plan is getting attention from a number of other mid-size cities like Boston on their plans for a fiber network.

For more:
- see this Lexington Herald Leader article

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