Lumos is looking to enter its third state this year as the operator works toward a goal of reaching 1 million fiber passings by 2026. Specifically, it’s planning to spend $100 million to build out 1,200 miles of infrastructure in South Carolina, focusing on the Columbia metro region.
The company’s fiber is already available to around 200,000 locations across North Carolina and Virginia. Last year, CEO Brian Stading told Fierce it planned to finish overbuilding its legacy ILEC footprint with fiber by early 2023 and thereafter would expand into new communities both within the two states and elsewhere in the Mid-Atlantic region.
An operator representative declined to specify how many passings Lumos is targeting in South Carolina, but said the market will help it take a “significant step” toward its 1 million passings goal. It will use a combination of aerial and buried fiber for the project, the representative added.
Engineering work is set to begin in mid-2023 with construction expected to start soon after and be complete within two years. The operator will make service available in phases throughout construction and plans to offer symmetrical 5 Gbps service in underserved parts of Richland and Lexington Counties, including Arcadia Lakes, Cayce, Columbia, Forest Acres, Irmo, Lexington, Springdale and West Columbia.
Asked why it decided to plant its flag in the Columbia metro area, the Lumos representative said the operator “looks for counties and cities that want to partner to help reduce the time to market, with attractive franchise requirements, and Richland and Lexington Counties, along with the cities and towns, definitely meet that requirement.” Lumos is self-funding the initial foray into South Carolina, but is eyeing opportunities to cover more ground there via funding partnerships with county and state government entities.
Additionally, the representative confirmed Lumos “continue[s] to evaluate” other potential expansion targets in the Mid-Atlantic. Specifically, it is looking for “attractive markets, partnership opportunities and an attractive regulatory environment related to franchise agreements and streamlined permitting process[es].”
This year Lumos is also undertaking a previously announced $83 million expansion project in the Virginia Beach area which will add 85,000 passings to its roster.