Cell Tower

Regional fiber operator Segra announced last week that it has connected fiber to 500 cell towers to support Dish’s 5G rollout. And according to Segra CEO Kevin T. Hart, Segra’s business with Dish isn’t finished.

“This was phase one,” said Hart in an interview with Telecompetitor Friday. “There will be hundreds more.”

Segra helped Dish meet an initial buildout requirement to 20% of the U.S. population and Dish must meet additional targets moving forward. Segra expects to connect towers for the second phase of the buildout by mid-June 2023 “if not sooner,” Hart said.

Other Wireless Customers

Segra was established in 2019 as a roll-up of several other companies. Its roots go back to a regional fiber network built and owned by independent telcos. In 2021, the company’s regional fiber network and enterprise business was acquired by Cox Communications, which retained the Segra name.

The Segra network reaches nine mid-Atlantic and southeastern states. The Segra Dish deployments have been primarily in the Carolinas.

Segra Fiber Network w/Lit Towers (Source: Segra website)

“We have connectivity to 7,000 towers within our footprint,” noted Hart. “The majority are on or very close to our network.”

Segra provides fiber connectivity to cell sites for the top five U.S. wireless operators and about five smaller wireless companies.

As carriers roll out 5G, the “outlook is strong” for Segra’s tower connectivity business, Hart said.

“The five or 10 [wireless companies] continue to scale and deploy capital,” he noted, adding that the carriers will also continue to upgrade backhaul network capacity to meet continually rising demand.

The tower business is “a significant portion” of Segra’s business, Hart said.

Other key offerings include Ethernet, MPLS, dark fiber, data center services, IP and managed services, voice and cloud services, Segra notes in a press release about the Segra Dish deployments.

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