To support its unprecedented rural broadband expansion, Charter has created an in-house Underground Construction team within Field Operations to complete projects faster and more efficiently.
Using state-of-the-art plowing and directional drilling equipment, the team supports Charter’s commitment to extend its network and expand gigabit broadband availability to more than a million currently unserved homes and businesses across the footprint through public-private partnerships with state and local governments and 100% Charter invested builds.
“We are investing in heavy machinery unlike anything the company’s owned before,” said Tom Monaghan, Executive Vice President, Field Operations. “The in-house team gives Charter the ability to complete projects more efficiently and respond more nimbly to changes in the construction landscape.”
An Investment in the Underground Construction Team Benefits Communities
The team uses the plowing and directional drilling equipment to support the long runs of fiber-optic cable and other specific needs of these rural construction projects.
Underground work requires a tremendous amount of precision and care. The teams receive specialized training in order to safely and effectively execute the builds, keeping the projects moving forward so that broadband can be delivered as soon as possible to these rural areas.
“With the underground construction team, we’re able to do this work faster, benefiting our company and the communities where we’re doing the work,” added Monaghan. “If we get the agreements we need on utility pole attachments and we continue to hit our targets, we will complete our Rural Digital Opportunity Fund builds two years ahead of schedule.”
Driving Rural Internet Needs
May 2023 marked one year of building for the Underground Construction team. Multiple crews have been strategically situated in states with significant expansion commitments: North Carolina, Ohio and South Carolina. The Florence County, South Carolina area was among the first to reap the rewards from the team when an expansion buildout began there last year.
When the heavy machinery arrives on 18-wheeler flatbeds in these local communities it helps conspicuously signal broadband expansion is on the way. Continually increasing the capacity to build underground helps to ensure buildout commitments are met, bringing gigabit broadband to unserved areas on time.
As the leading rural internet provider in America, Charter is committed to supporting rural communities. Alongside many of these expansion projects, the company has aligned its existing Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) buildout — a $5 billion investment, offset by approximately $1 billion in federal funds, to build out its network to rural homes and small businesses in 24 states.
Click here to learn more about Charter’s broadband expansion initiatives.