Wireless ISP Nextlink will use more than 1,000 American Tower sites to support the company’s deployment of fixed wireless broadband service to rural areas of 11 states. The Nextlink American Tower deal involves sites in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.
Nextlink had a couple of big pieces of funding news in the past couple of years that put it in position for the Tower collocation deal.
The company was awarded $281.3 million in the Connect America Fund (CAF) II auction in 2018, with funding contingent on building out service to more than 100,000 locations within six years. The other big win was in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, in which Nextlink provisionally won $429.2 million for 206,136 locations in 12 states.
The press release about the Nextlink American Tower agreement notes that Nextlink is “rapidly expanding its current service footprint across six states – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois – and working to bring high-speed broadband to underserved areas of 11 states.”
Nextlink sees American Tower as an important part of this effort, Baker said in the press release. “With a robust portfolio in rural markets and proven track record of providing exceptional service to ISPs and fixed wireless providers, American Tower is the ideal partner and our preferred tower provider in helping us meet critical build deadlines and expedite internet access in underserved areas.”
Baker told Telecompetitor in 2018 that the company’s strategy included building many of its own towers and for more remote areas, the company may need to continue to use that approach.