Lumen Fiber Optic Launch

Mid-Atlantic regional fiber provider Lumos has begun offering service in a public-private partnership with Orange County, NC, that will reach more than 6,300 unserved homes and 22,000 additional addresses in the county.

Lumos says it is one of the larger public-private partnerships in the state. The partnership features a six-phase plan, almost 1,000 miles of fiber, and provisioning of fiber to more than 20 anchor institutions. About 400 addresses are ready for service.

“We are thrilled to launch our 100% Fiber Optic Internet service in Orange County,” Lumos CEO Brian Stading said in a press release. “Today’s launch is a stellar example of a successful public-private partnership as Lumos and Orange County have creatively collaborated to exceed the project’s original scope to reach more unserved and underserved households throughout the county.”

The public source of funding for the project is the state and local program created in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). That program allotted funding to counties nationwide that could be used for a variety of purposes, including broadband.

The Orange County Board of Commissioners’ Broadband Task Force, which was formed in 2021, awarded Lumos $10 million in federal funding to deploy the fiber.

The size of the private investment was not detailed in the press release.

Lumos is owned by EQT Infrastructure, which also bought NorthState Communications and subsequently opted to use the Lumos brand for both companies.

In April, 2022, when NorthState was still operated under a separate brand, the Board of Commissioners of Orange County unanimously voted to enter a public-private partnership with NorthState to provide fiber to about 28,000 locations in the county. ARPA funding is being used for 10,000 of the addresses and NorthState is covering the deployment cost for the other 18,000. 

In May, Lumos said it would invest more than $50 million in Johnston and Harnett counties in North Carolina.   

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