Omni Fiber’s First Markets, NTIA Tribal Grants, Nokia Partners with AST for 5G

Omni Fiber was injected with funds from Oak Hill Capital last month.

Omni Fiber’s First Markets, NTIA Tribal Grants, Nokia Partners with AST for 5G
Photo of Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks at Nokia

August 2, 2022 – A new fiber-to-the-premises provider, Omni Fiber, announced Monday the first underserved cities it will serve in Ohio: Clyde, Dover and Shelby.

“Omni Fiber is committed to serving the residents of small and mid-size towns across the Midwest with high-speed connectivity as quickly as possible,” said Omni Fiber CEO Darrick Zucco in the press release. “We recognize that fast, reliable service is no longer a luxury but a necessity for all Americans, and our company is proud to partner with the cities of Clyde, Dover, and Shelby to provide critical infrastructure for its residents and businesses.”

Construction is underway in Clyde and is expected to begin later this month in Dover and Shelby. It will provide fiber internet speeds up to 2 Gbps symmetrical speeds with no data caps or installation charges and premium Wi-Fi included.

The company announced last month its partnership with Oak Hill Capital to accelerate the deployment of fiber-based broadband to underserved areas in the Midwest. Oak Hill is set to give $250 million to Omni Fiber to fund construction in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

Omni Fiber was founded this year and is led by a team with over 80 years combined experience in the industry. It provides fiber-optic broadband internet, TV, and phone services based in Ohio.

NTIA awards $459K to tribal governments

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration awarded the lone Band of Miwok Indians $459,000 through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity program on Friday.

The Tribal Broadband Connectivity program is part of the Joe Biden administration’s commitment to invest in rural infrastructure and affordable high-speed internet through the Internet for All initiative, which makes $980 million available for grants to tribal entities.

The lone Band of Miwok Indians will use the grant money to develop a comprehensive broadband deployment plan involving tribal lands in Amador County, California.

“Our Tribal communities badly need better connectivity to thrive in the modern digital economy. This grant demonstrates President Biden’s commitment to supporting and expanding Internet access for Tribal Nations,” said head of NTIA Alan Davidson in the press release. “The Ione Band of Miwok Indians’ plan to connect their critical wellness, housing, and community centers is a testament to how high-speed internet service can uplift entire communities.”

The NTIA has now made 44 awards totaling approximately $91.7 million through the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program. The Administration received over 300 applications during the application process, which closed in September. Further awards will continue to be announced as they move through the NTIA’s review process.

Nokia partners with AST SpaceMobile

Finnish 5G equipment supplier Nokia announced Thursday that it signed a five-year 5G deal with Texas-based satellite company AST SpaceMobile to expand universal coverage and connect underserved communities.

AST SpaceMobile is working to eliminate connectivity gaps by bringing cellular connectivity directly to 4G and 5G devices via low earth orbit satellites. It is currently partnering with mobile network operators Vodafone, Orange and Rakuten to achieve its goals.

The launch of SpaceMobile’s low earth orbiting satellite, BlueWalker 3, set for September will start global testing with mobile network operators on six continents.

Nokia will supply equipment from its AirScale portfolio, including its AirScale base stations powered by its latest generation of ReefShark System-on-Chip chipsets. These contributions will add capacity, flexibility, and efficiency in SpaceMobile tests, read the press release.

Nokia will also provide its NetAct solution for network management and its optimization and technical support services.

According to Tommi Uitto, president of mobile networks at Nokia, the two companies have been working together for two years to provide global connectivity. “We are of course proud our technology is playing an important role in underpinning the networks,” he said in a statement.

AST SpaceMobile is aiming to deploy approximately 100 satellites to achieve substantial global mobile coverage.

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