Funding

Two states – Nevada and Arizona — announced investment in middle mile networks recently. The Nevada news came this week, with the state awarding $250 million for a 2,500-mile open access fiber network that will reach many unserved communities. The big winner was Zayo, which won funding for the two main routes on the network.

The award was made through the Nevada Office of Science, Innovation and Technology (OSIT). 

The network is scheduled to be operational by 2028, OSIT Director Brian Mitchell told Telecompetitor in an email in response to questions from us.

The Nevada middle mile network is expected to facilitate better connectivity to “hundreds” of unserved K-12 schools, libraries, state and local government facilities and community anchor institutions, according to a press release.

The network also will support redundant pathways to major internet exchange points and “a range of lit middle mile services offered at affordable pricing,” as well as dark fiber indefeasible rights of use (IRUs).

Improved middle mile connectivity also is expected to help spur the deployment of last-mile broadband networks. OSIT estimates that more than 40,000 residences will gain improved internet access.

The Nevada middle mile program is part of broader funding initiatives aimed at making broadband available in unserved areas of the state. Zayo also won funding for some smaller projects, as did several other companies. Mitchell called these projects, depicted on the map below, “spurs” on the middle mile network. The companies winning funding for each spur are also shown.

Source: NV.gov

This isn’t Zayo’s first middle mile government funding win. The company also won middle mile funding from an NTIA program for networks in parts of several states.

Meanwhile in Arizona

The Nevada middle mile news came just a few weeks after the state of Arizona said it would partner with eX2 Technology on a middle mile network.

eX2 will not construct the network but instead, will market and commercialize dark fiber, micro-conduit and other communications assets on behalf of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), a spokesperson for eX2 told Telecompetitor in an email in response to questions from us.

Some portions of the network already have been built by companies selected by ADOT, and ADOT also will be responsible for selecting companies to build the network in other areas of the state, the eX2 spokesperson said.

The middle mile network is expected to facilitate intelligent transportation systems technology, to support a statewide education network and to facilitate broadband deployment in underserved areas.

The deals that eX2 will make for dark fiber on the Arizona middle mile network will take the form of 20+ year IRUs, according to the eX2 spokesperson. Agreements will be between ADOT and the network operator purchasing the service. ADOT will provide maintenance activities as part of the IRU agreement.

“The State of Arizona will remain the owner of all infrastructure assets,” the spokesperson said. ”eX2 is the agent responsible for facilitating the transactions and is compensated by the ADOT and ACA.”

In a prepared statement, ADOT Broadband Coordinator said, “Our mission at the ADOT Broadband Office is to support, facilitate and standardize broadband resource sharing opportunities and permitting processes to expand broadband deployment to unserved and underserved communities across the state.”

Updated to state that Zayo won funding for the two main middle mile network routes, and that the company and several others won funding for spur networks.

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