SiFi Networks America Limited, a U.S. provider of open access fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks backed by APG, the manager for Dutch pension fund ABP, today announced its intention to begin deploying fiber infrastructure in 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2022, as part of a $2bn commitment from private investors. In total, these 30 U.S. cities comprise 1.0+ million homes and businesses.
Additionally, SiFi Networks is preliminarily working on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) initiatives with nearly 100 cities across the United States.
Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Deployment – SiFi Networks
SiFi Networks builds and operates citywide, open access fiber networks across the United States. The company’s fiber networks serve a combination of consumers, businesses, internet service providers (ISPs), and anchor institutions. For example, SiFi Networks’ fiber infrastructure serves ISPs including GigabitNow and Flume Internet.
Open Access Wholesale Fiber Network
Because SiFi Networks uses open access network architecture, multiple ISPs and other service providers share capacity on SiFi Networks’ fiber infrastructure. Therefore, competition arises in cities that SiFi Networks serves, as alternative choices develop against existing cable company dominance. Indeed, these cable company networks leverage inferior hybrid fiber-coaxial (HFC) technology, instead of fiber.
Overall, SiFi Networks’ open access model allows it to focus on building and owning infrastructure. Whereas ISPs can offer services with lower capital expenditures and concentrate on marketing to a larger customer base, while building their consumer-facing brand. As a result, SiFi Networks’ business is more ‘infrastructure-like’ given its longer-term contracts directly with ISPs, versus with short-term consumers.
SiFi Networks is currently deploying fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) in 6 cities including East Hartford, Connecticut (23k+ units); Salem, Massachusetts (22k+ units); Saratoga Springs, New York (15k+ units); Placentia, California (20k+ units); Simi Valley, California (45k units); and Fullerton, California (54k+ units).
By year-end 2021, the company should be making fiber deployments in ~10 cities, putting it on-pace to meet its goal of deploying fiber infrastructure in 30 U.S. cities by year-end 2022. Furthermore, by 2023, SiFi Networks expects its fiber deployment pacing to reach passings of 40k homes per month.
Ownership and Funding
In September 2021, APG increased its existing investment in SiFi Networks by acquiring a 16.7% direct equity stake in the company and establishing a joint venture (Fiber JV) to roll-out open access fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks in the United States. As part of this transaction, APG made a $500m equity commitment to the Fiber JV.
Additionally, SiFi Networks has been sponsored by the Smart City Infrastructure Fund. Particularly, the fund manager is Whitehelm Capital, an infrastructure private equity firm, with backing by APG, as its cornerstone investor.