New operator IQ Fiber is looking to give AT&T and Comcast a run for their money in Florida, starting with a greenfield deployment to some 60,000 locations in Jacksonville.
The company is backed by a majority investment from SDC Capital Partners, which also owns a 48% stake in Midwest fiber provider Allo Communications. Its CEO is longtime telecom executive Ted Schremp, who previously served as CMO for Charter Communications from 2008 to 2011, TiVo from 2016 to 2018 and Web.com Group from 2019 to 2020.
Though its initial plan will see it offer service in Jacksonville starting in early Q2 2022, Schremp told Fierce the company is eyeing an opportunity to expand across at least four counties, including Duval (where Jacksonville is located), Clay, Nassau and St. Johns.
“That four county area represents an opportunity for us that is five times bigger than our initial Phase I build,” he said. “So we know we’ve got not just opportunity to get this first 60,000 that we’ve announced, but plenty of additional opportunity as we go forward just inside this little corner of Florida that’s growing as quickly as it is.”
The company is deploying an XGS-PON fiber network and plans to offer three service tiers with symmetrical speeds of 250 Mbps for $65 per month, 500 Mbps for $75 per month and 1 gig for $85 per month. Those prices include taxes as well as whole-home Wi-Fi, Schremp said. While it’s not alone in providing the latter, he pitched it as a differentiator for consumers who just want simplicity and a good customer experience.
“A gig to the side of your house is useless if you went to Best Buy and bought a router five years ago and are just bumping along, and the average consumer just really doesn’t know how to contend with that,” he said. “The reality is they’re looking at the service provider to solve that for them and certainly that’s good for us in terms of the management of churn and the delivery of the full speeds.”
More than anything, Schremp said IQ Fiber is “trying to be what the incumbents are not.”
“The incumbents here are Comcast with their traditional HFC [hybrid fiber coax] service, AT&T with some fiber build and a lot of legacy DSL and we know it can be done better,” the CEO said. “We certainly know that consumers react positively to choice. They certainly are irritated by the practices of many of the incumbent providers. And we’re trying to deliver the converse of that.”