August 31, 2022 – Telecommunications cooperative Diamond State Networks announced an update to its fiber build in Arkansas, telling a Fiber Broadband Association event Tuesday that it has completed to date 60,000 miles of 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) fiber covering 70 percent of the state landmass with middle mile infrastructure.
Composed of 13 cooperatives with investments of at least $1.66 billion, the wholesale fiber alliance was announced in May of this year with a coverage goal of 64 percent of the state. The formed entity called Diamond State Network at the time said it hoped that model was one that future coops would follow.
Doug Maglothin, the coop’s executive director, told the FBA on Tuesday that the coop’s participation in the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program will also allow residents to have other subsidy options than just the incumbents’ services to get connected.
Maglothin said that middle mile infrastructure built as a cooperative will ensure that any funding that is used for broadband in Arkansas stays within the state. The coop said it is aiming to apply for middle mile funding from federal infrastructure programs administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
Maglothin added that the company now consults with up to seven other states to help them promote their plans and leverage resources from other providers, encouraging the providers to collectively create a sustainable broadband strategy.