Lumos' FTTH connections rise 39% in RLEC territory

Lumos Networks may be mulling how to break itself into two separate companies -- the metro fiber company and its rural local exchange carrier operation -- but the provider continues to make progress with expanding its FTTP-based broadband customer base.

Tim Biltz, Lumos Networks

Biltz (Source: Lumos)

Tim Biltz, CEO of Lumos, told investors during the fourth quarter 2015 earnings call that it is leveraging its existing FTTH deployment to bring 1 Gbps services to rural telco customers.

"We have also rolled out 1 Gigabit bandwidth speeds in many of our RLEC markets and plan to have all of them rolled out by the beginning of the second quarter," Biltz said. "Our fiber-to-the-premise broadband connection has increased nearly 39 percent year over year and essentially all of these are in our RLEC footprint."

As the only ILEC to offer 1 Gbps in these two Virginia markets, the service provider said that it expects to equip its entire FTTH footprint with the higher speed premium service.

In January, Lumos began offering a 1 Gbps FTTP service in Botetourt County, Va. This follows the initial launch it made in May 2015 in Virginia's Allegheny Highlands region.

Lumos passed 19,400 premises with fiber, up from 19,170 in the third quarter 2015. The service provider said that about 95 percent of the premises passed by fiber and available for service as of the end of December 2015 were residential. In the second quarter of 2015, Lumos completed a Rural Utilities Service (RUS)-funded build where it passed 5,300 sites with fiber.

As of the end of the fourth quarter, Lumos had a total of 8,815 FTTH connections, up from 8,007 in the third quarter.

And while Lumos' Residential and Small Business (RS&B) unit continues to see declines in voice services, that falloff was marginally offset by IPTV and broadband growth in the RLEC territories.

Furthermore, its RLEC business' FTTH network could make an attractive target for other rural telcos looking to expand their footprint, said Johan Broekhuysen, CFO of Lumos Networks. "The R&SB business, in particular, the RLECs, we believe will ultimately be a very attractive asset for the RLEC consolidators."

For more:
- see the earnings transcript

Related articles:
Lumos lays foundation to spin out fiber-centric company in 2017
Lumos gains VITA authorized vendor status, deepens Virginia government presence
Lumos steps up 1 Gbps FTTH drive with Botetourt County, Va. launch
Lumos eyes colocation providers as potential acquisition targets
Lumos sees dark fiber dollars in wireless small cells, enterprise customers