Cincinnati Bell launches $200M project to deepen Ohio fiber footprint

Cincinnati Bell is dedicating $200 million to deepen its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) presence in Greater Cincinnati and two additional Ohio cities in 2015, citing growth in its business customer base.

The service provider will extend fiber-based broadband services to Fairfield and Bethel. By the end of 2016, Cincinnati Bell said it plans to have 75 percent of the greater Cincinnati region covered with fiber.

Josh Pichler, a spokesman for Cincinnati Bell, told The Journal-News that the company targeted Bethel and Fairfield because "there's a good cross-section of about 700 businesses in both those communities."

Like other segments of the country, local Ohio businesses will be able to leverage the fiber-based connectivity to access an array of cloud and mobile-based services like Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) Pay, which allows customers to purchase items with their iPhones.

Making fiber more readily available to more area businesses makes sense. During the third quarter of 2014, strategic business revenues, at $42 million (including $2 million of Fioptics revenue), rose 10 percent year-over-year.

Besides business customers, the investment will also benefit residential customers, who had been limited to either slower speed DSL of 10-25 Mbps from either Cincinnati Bell or AT&T (NYSE: T) or up to 50 Mbps from Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC).

Fairfield Mayor Steve Miller hailed the project as a way to inject more competition into the market.

"That creates more competition as far as digital television, phone and Internet, which is fantastic," Miller said, according The Journal-News report. "It should help make for a great choice for people who live in Fairfield — as the mayor and a resident, I'm glad to see they're doing it."

While the service provider did not cite specific speeds, Cincinnati Bell jumped into the 1 Gbps FTTP craze in August, a move that may have been prompted by a potential threat that could emerge from Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG). After initially not being chosen, Cincinnati city leaders began lobbying Google Fiber to be its next fiber city.

Cincinnati Bell has seen a decent take rate for its Fioptics FTTP service. In the third quarter of 2014, Cincinnati Bell's Fioptics service suite totaled $37 million, up 39 percent year-over-year. In the third quarter, the telco continued to expand the availability of Fioptics, passing an additional 15,900 homes, and it is now available to 40 percent of Greater Cincinnati. 

For more:
The Journal-News has this article

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This article was updated on Jan. 5 to note that the $200M investment also includes its Greater Cincinnati footprint.