Digital Access Boosts Tennessee Cluster

10/22/2000 8:00 PM Eastern

Digital Access Inc. increased its Tennessee cluster to 270,000 residents last week when it agreed to deliver enhanced telecommunications services in the Nashville area.

The Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County granted the Philadelphia-based start-up a 15-year franchise to build a 3,000-mile, 860-megahertz network capable of offering cable, high-speed Internet access and telephony to some 220,000 residents.

Digital Access had previously signed agreements with regulators in the Nashville suburbs of Brentwood, Franklin and Williamson County, which involved 50,000 residents.

Digital Access CEO Joseph Cece said the company has completed its initial franchising efforts in Tennessee, but conceded that "there are other neighboring communities around Nashville that we would like to franchise.

"We are now focusing all our energies on building Middle Tennessee a state-of-the-art broadband communications network that will provide choice, convenience and savings backed by superior customer service," he said.

Cece said Nashville was one of the first markets targeted by Digital Access, based on household density and the number of consumers connected to the Internet.

Engineering and design work was already well underway, he added. Construction will begin in two months; the first customers will be activated in the third quarter of next year.

Digital Access also recently picked up its ninth franchise in the greater Milwaukee area when the village of Bayside approved a 15-year deal covering 1,500 households. The overbuilder now has 30,000 homes under contract in that region.

Overall, the company's franchises cover more than 800,000 consumers in four states.

Also last week, Digital Access said it won competitive local-exchange carrier status from the Missouri Public Service Commission, paving the way for it to serve Kansas City, Mo., and its suburbs in that state.

Separately, Denver-based WideOpenWest LLC added another 60,000 homes to its universe last week through franchises in Littleton and Parker, Colo., as well as Bedford and Flower Mound, Texas. It will overbuild the incumbent cable operator in both areas.

Elsewhere, Everest Connections, of St. Louis signed a three-year contract to purchase hybrid fiber-coax network equipment and services from ADC Telecommunications Inc. ADC said the deal was worth about $300 million.

Everest has announced plans to build and operate broadband networks in and around Kansas City, Mo; Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.; and Tulsa, Okla.

"We chose ADC for our network due to their complete product offering and reputation for high-quality, end-to-end network equipment, software and services," Everest CEO Jim Moffit said in a news release.

Everest started work on the Kansas City-area network in July and expects to wire up its first subscribers there late this year. It estimates a five-year network buildout.

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