Leading-Edge Fiber Network to Reach Over 70,000 Potential Customers in Wisconsin by End of 2023

Charlotte, NC — July 27, 2022 — Brightspeed today outlined its planned fiber network build for the state of Wisconsin. By the end of 2023, Brightspeed will complete the first phase of construction and deliver over 70,000 new fiber passings across fifteen counties in the state. In subsequent years of its network initiative, the company plans to add 80,000 fiber passings for a total of over 150,000 new fiber-enabled locations in its Wisconsin operating territory.

The Wisconsin fiber build is part of Brightspeed’s comprehensive plan to invest at least $2 billion in its fiber optics transformation, which is expected to reach up to 3 million homes and businesses over the next five years, including in many rural and suburban settings where fiber and advanced technology have not historically been deployed.

Brightspeed will initially be comprised of incumbent local exchange carrier (ILEC) assets and associated operations of Lumen Technologies (NYSE: LUMN), which are the subject of a pending acquisition by Apollo-managed funds (NYSE: APO). The company has secured all necessary state-required regulatory approvals in the 20 states in its operating footprint. The parties expect to obtain final FCC approval in the third quarter, and to close the transaction in early fourth quarter.

“As we continue our extensive preparations for day one, we are pleased to share the build plans for our Wisconsin footprint,” said Sherry Hessenthaler, Operations Strategy Lead for Brightspeed. “A reliable, affordable broadband connection is a necessity to function and thrive in the modern economy, and the need for high-speed internet access is especially great in our rural areas. We believe people and businesses should have access to the best internet with the simplest customer experience possible. We are eager to introduce our Brightspeed services to customers in so many Wisconsin communities.”

Brightspeed’s 2022-23 build plan for Wisconsin will bring faster, more reliable internet and Wi-Fi to over 70,000 residential and business locations in markets within Ashland, Bayfield, Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Douglas, Grant, Green Lake, Jackson, La Crosse, Lafayette, Marinette, Monroe, Outagamie, and Sauk counties. These new fiber passings are incremental to 21,000 existing fiber-enabled addresses that Brightspeed will assume upon the close of the transaction between the Apollo funds and Lumen.

“To augment our initial build plans and help make fiber-based internet a reality for even more customers, we have been evaluating areas for consideration for Wisconsin’s broadband infrastructure initiatives,” Hessenthaler added. “We’re excited to have received a sizable grant under the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program, and we look forward to pursuing future federal and state broadband grant opportunities.”

"Brightspeed’s investment in Wisconsin will make an enormous difference for residents of our great state who depend on reliable internet to work, learn, and live," said Senator Julian Bradley, Chair of the Senate Committee on Utilities, Technology and Telecommunications.

Brightspeed is working with a select team of technology innovators and supply chain partners to implement a state-of-the-art FTTP network engineered for faster deployment and market availability. The company will leverage XGS-PON, an architecture supporting symmetrical internet speeds that exceed 1Gbps, and Wi-Fi 6, the latest wireless networking standard for better speed and performance within today’s device-packed homes and offices.

Brightspeed plans to announce further state-specific network build plans over the coming weeks.

For more information about Brightspeed, visit the company’s website, www.brightspeed.com.

About Brightspeed

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. and expected to have assets and associated operations in 20 states, Brightspeed will provide broadband and telecommunications services through a network platform capable of serving more than 6 million homes and businesses. The company aims to bridge the digital divide by deploying a state-of-the-art fiber network and a customer experience that makes staying connected simple and seamless. For more information about Brightspeed, visit the company’s website, www.brightspeed.com.

Erik Carlson
Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
(212) 355-4449