MetroNet, the largest privately-held fiber provider in the U.S., is in the midst of a mad dash to push its fiber into overlooked markets across the country at breakneck pace. In an interview with Fierce, the operator’s Senior Director of Business Development and Government Affairs Eddie Massengale said it is aiming to reach well over half a million new passings for the full year 2023 and could look outside its current 16-state footprint to get there.
Since the start of January, MetroNet has launched its symmetrical, multi-gig service in Waterloo, Sioux City and Iowa Falls, Iowa; St. Joseph, Missouri; Hope Mills and Jacksonville, North Carolina; Beavercreek, Ohio; Norfolk, Virginia; and La Crosse, Wisconsin. It plans to add launches in Hickory, North Carolina, and the cities of Palm Coast and Altamonte Springs in Florida to its list by the end of March.
Including some market launches which occurred in late last year, MetroNet said it expects to light up a total of 380,000 new passings in the four-month period from December and March.
MetroNet CEO John Cinelli said in a statement the operator’s construction pace has reached fever pitch, “so at any given moment, we have more than two dozen cities under construction, and our goal is to continue accelerating.”
According to Massengale, MetroNet has already locked in agreements covering around 35% of its targeted passings for 2023 and is in active conversations which would account for another 20%. Among other areas, he noted it is concentrated on small mid-sized communities in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, Iowa and Ohio. But he added MetroNet is also “having conversations weekly with different communities in states we’re not in.”
As the operator works to engage with mayors in its target municipalities, Massengale said the fact that MetroNet isn’t asking for funding is proving to be a “huge advantage.”
“A lot of times it’s hard for them to believe,” he said. Massengale added some suspect there must be hidden costs attached to an offer that seems too good to be true, but MetroNet provides references to reassure them that’s not the case.
Above everything else, Massengale said officials in the cities it is targeting want honesty and clear communication, things they may not have gotten from other providers in the past.
“Every morning in the markets we’re building in we send out a street sheet just so the city knows where we’re at that day,” he said. “It’s letting the cities know that if we tell ‘em we’re going to do it, then we’re going to do it…That’s what really helps us more than anything.”