Bright House Beats Verizon for Fiber Gig

Bright House Networks knocked out Verizon Communications, Gigabit Squared and a host of other providers to win a coveted deal to provide a new housing development in the Tampa, Fla., area with an all-fiber network that will deliver service packages highlighted by a 1 Gigabit-per-second broadband service.

The highly targeted deployment, initially to 6,000 homes in tandem with Metro Development Group, will get underway this spring. Home sales in the development are expected to start in May, with the first move-in dates slated for September.

Bright House won out in part because it shared MDG’s vision to offer more than a regular set of services, but a platform that would connect the community to healthcare and categories, Tom Reiman, president of The Broadband Group, the firm that advised MDG on the overall plan, explained.

“The amenity package [for new housing developments] used to be a golf course; now it’s connectivity,” he said. “We only have one chance to build a new community … I looked at who was in the market and who was motivated. Bright House got it.”

All homes in these new “UltraFi” communities will be pre-wired and include home automation and security services and feature access to 1-Gig-capable WiFi networks on nearby trails, clubhouses and playgrounds.

And expect next-gen video services to play a role. “We have a timeline and roadmap to get to full IP video,”  Reiman said.

This could be the start of something much bigger for Bright House. MDG controls more than 30,000 lots in Central Florida, and the current 6,000-home plan represents phase one of what’s under consideration.

There are “definite discussions” about a phase two, Reiman said, noting that The Broadband Group and MDG want to be sure the initial plan is “foundationally correct.”

“It’s our firm desire and intent to continue with Bright House,” he said.

Bright House plans to base the new residential buildout on Ethernet Passive Optical Network technology, the same architecture it’s using to deliver high-capacity, fiber-based services to midsized businesses.