SiFi Networks said today that it plans to begin deploying fiber networks in 30 U.S. communities by the end of 2022. The company also launched a digital inclusion program to be known as FiberCity Aid.
SiFi Networks is a rather unique company in that it uses an open access approach that allows other network operators to also sell services on its network. The company uses the term “Open Access FiberCities” for the markets where it deploys service.
The SiFi name was relatively unknown until 2019 when the company said it would build an open access network in Fullerton, California.
Since then, the company has added several other markets, including Salem, Massachusetts and Farmington and Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Earlier this month, the SiFi approach received an endorsement of sorts when it received a $500 million equity investment from investment firm APG, acting on behalf of Dutch pension fund clients.
The new deployments that SiFi is planning will total $2 billion and the funding will come “from private investors,” SiFi said in a press release, which noted that the deployments will come “at no cost to taxpayers.”
Service providers that have availed themselves of the SiFi open access network approach in the past have included Ting, GigabitNow and Flume Internet.
“The open access model opens up new markets quickly for ISPs at a lower capital exposure,” said SiFi Networks CEO Ben Bawtree-Jobson, in today’s press release. “These ISPs – including smaller companies that are ordinarily locked out of the market – now have access to a large customer base and can build a brand.”
He added that “ISPs in SiFi FiberCity networks wind up with great margins.”
As part of the latest expansion plans, SiFi expects to be passing 40,000 homes per month by 2023. The company plans to make service available to “every home, business and anchor institution” in the communities it serves.
FiberCity Aid will subsidize gigabit-speed broadband for low-income residents in SiFi FiberCities, according to SiFi. The company did not provide details about eligibility or what eligible households will pay for the service.
The program appears unique in that it will include gigabit speed service. While numerous service providers have low-income broadband offerings, those offerings usually don’t provide the highest speeds that the provider offers.
SiFi also said its networks will “run smart city applications” such as public Wi-Fi, traffic management, public safety enhancements and efficient street lighting.