Nelnet challenges Windstream, TWC in Lincoln, Neb. with new 1 Gbps service

Lincoln, Neb.-based NeInet is looking to shake up the city's cable and telco broadband duopoly of Windstream and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) with plans to offer a 1 Gbps FTTH service for residential customers.

NeInet recently purchased ALLO Communications, an Imperial-based Internet provider, for $46.2 million.

Brad Moline, president of ALLO Communications, told the Journal Star that it could start lighting up customers sometime in the summer of 2016 depending on weather and other network build out variables.

Unlike Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) and AT&T (NYSE: T), NeInet isn't going to cherry pick where it will deliver service. The service provider said it expects to offer the entire city of 100,000-plus resdiences and businesses the 1 Gbps service sometime in 2019.

What is making this roll out possible is the work Lincoln already conducted to install its own fiber conduit throughout the city.

Because ALLO has struck a deal with the city to allow access to its conduit ALLO will be able to more cost effectively extend fiber to homes. Having access to this conduit, which has been built along existing rights-of-way, enables ALLO to forgo the permitting process that can often delay or hamper new FTTH rollouts.  

Moline said getting access to the city's fiber conduit is "absolutely" a major factor in ALLO's decision to come to Lincoln and without the conduit system "this wouldn't be considered." He added that while the conduit system is positive, building out fiber to every home and business in the city will cost it over $100 million over the course of the program.

The move by ALLO and NeInet comes at an interesting time in Lincoln, Neb.'s broadband history.

In January, Windstream secured a video franchise agreement in Lincoln, Neb., where it will compete directly with local cable incumbent Time Warner Cable. According to the terms of the franchise agreement Windstream developed with the city, the service provider has to bring service to about 45 percent of the city with the goal of ultimately providing it to 80 percent of Lincoln's households by the end of the 15-year period. 

In addition to providing IPTV, Windstream plans to begin trials of its own 1 Gbps FTTH service in one unnamed market in December with plans for a broader roll out to follow in 2016 in markets where it has previously built fiber to homes. A previous article revealed that the service provider has installed FTTP in select areas, including 500 Lincoln homes, and expects to do more as housing developments arise. 

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