Ziply zooms ahead with fiber, adding 14 more markets

Kirkland, Washington-based Ziply Fiber is adding 14 more communities in Washington and Oregon to the list of markets where it will expand fiber broadband services this year as it continues its $500 million investment to upgrade properties it acquired from Frontier Communications.

The 14 new target markets, described by Ziply as mostly smaller and rural towns, are in addition to the 22 new market builds announced last April. 

More broadly, Ziply has a three-year plan to bring fiber broadband to more than 80% of its 250,000-square-mile, four-state territory and, including the latest 14, has brought fiber to a total of 52 markets thus far.

The newest expansion markets include five cities in Washington (Arlington; Monroe; Oak Harbor; Skykomish and Stanwood) and nine in Oregon (Cove; Dayton; Elgin; Imbler; Joseph; Lafayette; Mill City; Myrtle Point and Silverton), representing more than 38,000 fiber-ready addresses. The service provider is still in the early-stage planning and permitting phases of the build-out for these markets, but Ziply plans to turn up service by the end of this year to give the company fiber broadband coverage in 50% of its total service area.

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“Many of the communities we’re upgrading have never experienced anything like fiber before,” said Harold Zeitz, CEO of Ziply Fiber, in a statement. “We’ve seen an increased demand for high-speed Internet to support all the activities we do online, whether that’s online learning, streaming entertainment, or working from home. To support this, we’ve spent the last year investing and constructing a new state-of-the-art fiber-optic network, and we’re thrilled to bring these improvements to rural and urban communities in the Northwest.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is a major factor in the service trends and demand spike Zeitz spoke of, and Ziply isn’t the only independent telco seeing these trends and upping its fiber bets in response. TDS Telecom also recently expressed a sense of urgency about deploying fiber in more markets this year. Meanwhile, Consolidated Communications accelerated its fiber deployment last quarter, and Shentel is another that has been aggressive with its fiber rollout. As these companies and many others continue to expand fiber, supply chain constraints could become a looming concern, something that was mentioned by an AT&T executive this week.

While Ziply is committed to a fiber broadband future, the company also plans to continue to support customers who have the company’s existing DSL-based Ziply Internet service. The company said its DSL customers will begin seeing service improvements related to the fiber investment because that upgrade plan also involves the improvement of Ziply’s core and aggregation network, which will provide better quality, capacity and reliability to customers of all Ziply services.