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Gateway Fiber currently serves markets in Missouri and Minnesota but has now announced its first market outside the Midwest. Telecompetitor talked with Gateway Fiber CEO Heath Sellenriek about that build – in Northampton, Massachusetts – and about how the company decides where to build next.

“We have a whole New Markets team,” said Sellenriek. “They’re constantly looking [at markets] and always have several in the pipeline.”

Founded in 2019, Gateway Fiber has been particularly aggressive with its expansion plans since last year, when it was acquired by CBRE Investment Management.

The New Markets Team

Gateway’s New Markets team looks at numerous factors in evaluating a potential market. One key factor, Sellenriek said, is that “we like to be the first fiber provider in a market.”

Build costs also are very important, he added.

In addition to those factors, the company looks at population density, the number of people per household and numerous other criteria.

“There are probably 100 different things we look at,” said Sellenriek.

The number of people per household was added to the list when Gateway realized that it had strong take rates among houses with a relatively high number of people – a realization that makes sense, considering that houses with more people are likely to need more bandwidth and considering that Gateway is typically the fastest provider in each of the markets that it serves.

The company offers speeds between 300 Mbps and 2 Gbps, along with voice service, but not video.

Gateway has won some funding for broadband buildouts in its home state of Missouri, but according to Sellenriek, “we don’t go to a market just for government grants.”

The company primarily focuses on suburban towns and cities that usually already have broadband, though not fiber broadband.

He added, though, that if there is a funding opportunity surrounding one of its markets, the company will consider applying.

Sellenriek declined to say whether Gateway had more plans for the Northeast but noted that the company will be making additional announcements about network expansion “down the road.”

He also noted that Gateway Fiber strives to integrate itself into the communities that it serves by opening an office and a warehouse in each community.

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