Midco targets 10 Gbps fiber to 300,000 homes

fiber optic strands
Work is set to begin in North and South Dakota this year. (planet_fox from Pixabay)

Regional U.S. broadband provider Midco announced a $500 million fiber project, aiming to deliver 10 Gbps service to hundreds of thousands of locations in the Midwest.

Midco currently provides fiber service to around 460,000 homes and businesses across Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

The company said its multi-year Fiber Forward initiative will connect 300,000 homes and businesses with 10-gig capabilities, with 150,000 locations each in North and South Dakota. Work is set to begin this year in Bismarck, Dickinson, Fargo and Grand Forks, North Dakota and the Sioux Falls area of South Dakota.

Ben Dold, Midco’s SVP of Central Operations, told Fierce work will extend to other areas as well and “eventually nearly all homes we pass will be included in our fiber upgrades.” He added “next year we expect to be in the 30,000+ range for homes upgraded and expect the pacing to slowly ramp up over time to be completed by the end of the decade.”

Midco President and CEO Pat McAdaragh said in a statement it will “deploy a mix of next gen fiber technologies” to realize its goal. He added the advanced network will “provide fast symmetrical speeds, low latency, unmatched reliability and rock-solid security.”

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“Just a few short years ago, a 100 Mbps internet connection was considered amazingly fast” but the pandemic “turned the world upside down,” Midco CTIO Jon Pederson added in a statement. “We know technical innovation will accelerate. Fiber Forward ensures our network can support whatever revolutionary technology comes our way,” he continued.

Last year, Midco won $4.9 million in funding in the Federal Communications Commission’s Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction to connect 206 locations in North Dakota, 242 locations in South Dakota and 6,058 locations in Minnesota. Dold said the Fiber Forward project is separate from its RDOF commitments.

The company is among several others pursuing 10 Gbps deployments. In May, Altice USA revealed a plan to deploy a 10 Gbps product by the end of 2022, while Alaskan operator GCI said it is aiming to rollout 10 Gbps service within the next five years. Another regional provider, Circle Fiber, announced in March its deployment of XGS-PON fiber technology in Missouri to hit 10-gig speeds, and AT&T started its own XGS-PON rollout a year prior