RDOF Winner Nextlink

Nextlink, which was one of the biggest winners in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, has big XGS-PON fiber broadband plans. The company said today that it will use equipment from Nokia to connect 200,000 homes in 12 states, including six states that it already serves and six new states.

XGS-PON technology can provide speeds up to 10 Gbps symmetrically, although a Nokia press release references plans only for “multi-gigabit” speeds. According to the release, XGS-PON can be easily upgraded to 25 Gbps in the future.

“The communities that Nextlink serves can rest easy, knowing that their communications networks are ready for today and generations to come,” said Nextlink CEO Bill Baker in the press release.

Telecompetitor has been following Nextlink since 2018, when the company won $281 million in the Connect America Fund (CAF II) auction, which awarded funding to cover some of the costs of bringing broadband to unserved and underserved areas.

The company was founded in 2012 and initially focused on fixed wireless, but also has done some fiber broadband deployments.

Nextlink’s RDOF winning bids totaled $429 million. They call for the company to use a combination of fiber broadband and fixed wireless to provide service at speeds as high as a gigabit per second (1 Gbps).

Last week the company announced that it would use equipment from Tarana to deliver gigabit fixed wireless.

The 12 states where Nextlink will be deploying the Nokia XGS-PON equipment are Texas, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota.

Until a year or so ago, service providers deploying fiber broadband were most likely to use GPON. But as the price of XGS-PON has come more in line with GPON, providers increasingly are choosing it over slower GPON technology.

It’s worth noting that XGS-PON isn’t the only option for delivering symmetrical 10 Gbps speeds. NG-PON2 also has that capability – and some extra features as well – but it’s more costly than XGS-PON and most providers are opting to use XGS-PON for their multi-gigabit builds. The one major exception is Verizon, which has opted for NG-PON2.

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