Frontier Communications is “very excited” about the possibility of using BEAD funding to deploy fiber broadband to areas that aren’t currently part of the company’s plan to have fiber available to 10 million locations by 2025, said Vishal Dixit, Chief Strategy Officer and EVP Wholesale, for the company at an investor conference today.
Dixit declined to say how many locations might be eligible for funding in the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. That number won’t be known until more information about BEAD funding becomes available mid-year, he said.
He noted, though, that BEAD will be a “great opportunity for us and other ILECs . . . to bring connectivity to places that are suffering.”
Frontier would consider applying for BEAD funding for areas outside its home turf in limited circumstances, Dixit said.
“Our priority remains our footprint,” he said.
He added, though, that “sometimes in order to reach an area where you won a subsidy, you have to pass other areas and homes along the way. And that might make it economically advantageous to do an edge-out expansion anchored by the grant, which will be focused on the footprint.”
Frontier has previously used the term “Wave 3” for locations within the company’s footprint that do not have fiber broadband and where fiber deployments are not part of the current plans. The New Street Research analyst asking Dixit questions today cited a figure of three to four million locations in Frontier’s footprint that are not currently planned to receive fiber.
When asked whether BEAD buildouts might delay Frontier’s plan to have fiber to 10 million locations by 2025, Dixit said he anticipates that the 10-million location buildout would be largely completed by the time the BEAD deployments would begin.
Dixit made his comments at the New Street Research and BCG Fiber to the Future conference.