FTS Fiber, a dark fiber supplier providing carrier-class network infrastructure in both rural areas and other major U.S. markets, has begun building a 110-mile fiber network in Kent County, Maryland.
Over the next several months, subcontractors contracted by Whiting-Turner will install the dark fiber cable. Work on the network is scheduled to be completed by mid to late 2017.
Working in tandem with internet service provider ThinkBig, FTS will provide 1 Gbps service throughout the rural Eastern Shore area beginning in August.
FTS said that the fiber network connecting 54 sites in the county will "encourage economic growth and improve quality of life for residents and local businesses."
Taking a cue from Google Fiber's (NASDAQ: GOOG) "fiberhood" concept, Kent County residents can sign up for ThinkBig internet services online at thinkbignets.com. By taking part in the early sign-up process, residents can get receive updates on progress and ensures they will be notified as soon as ThinkBig service is available in their neighborhood.
While the parts of Maryland that FTS and ThinkBig are serving may be rural, the buildout illustrates that there's a demand to bring higher speed broadband into underserved areas.
The project also highlights the diverse use cases for dark fiber services. FTS itself has been carving out a niche with a number of industry verticals such as rural areas, content holders, enterprise and submarine cable providers. Laying dark fiber in rural areas could also make the Kent County area more attractive to other businesses and residents that are considering it as a place to live or conduct business.
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