Cox Communications talked up plans to invest more than $400 million over the next three years to expand its network to underserved areas in eight states, an effort it said is part of a broader multi-billion infrastructure initiative.
The operator said expansion projects are underway in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Florida, Louisiana, California, Virginia and Arizona, which will use a combination of private funding and public-private partnership investments. Thus far, it noted it has secured partnership deals to cover more than 6,000 underserved homes in Oklahoma and 3,000 underserved locations in Arizona. It also has partnership agreements in place in Virginia, with pending applications in several additional markets.
In Virginia specifically, Cox has won several grant awards from the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI), which requires operators and government entities to jointly apply for funding. Last year, it snagged a $1.5 million VATI grant for a project in Roanoke County and more than $580,000 for a build in the City of Chesapeake.
All told, Cox said it plans to reach more than 100,000 unserved and underserved locations over the coming years.
"As part of our ongoing commitment to digital equity, we're making private investments, continuing to pursue partnership opportunities and positively impacting the lives of those in underserved areas by providing high-speed broadband service,” Cox Communications President Mark Greatrex said in a statement.
The operator said its plan for underserved areas is part of a broader multi-year, multi-billion network initiative which was announced in February and will see it roll out 10G service to consumers using a combination of fiber and DOCSIS 4.0 technology. Cox’s chief access scientist recently told Fierce it is currently testing equipment compatible with the extended spectrum variant of DOCSIS 4.0 (known as ESD) in its labs.
It is unclear whether Cox’s investment in un- and underserved areas includes its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I commitments to connect 8,212 locations across Arizona, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma and Virginia.