American and Nextlink Put 1,000 Towers to Use for Rural Broadband


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American Tower and ISP Nextlink Internet signed a new, long-term agreement to help bring enhanced connectivity to users in rural America. Under this new agreement, Nextlink Internet plans to co-locate on over 1,000 American Tower sites to facilitate rapid deployment of fixed broadband service to residents and small businesses across 11 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Wyoming, and Wisconsin.

Nextlink Internet is a Connect America Fund II (CAFII) recipient and a recent provisional winner in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund program. The firm is rapidly expanding its current service footprint across six states – Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. The company is also working to bring high-speed broadband to underserved areas of 11 additional states. It will immediately begin using American Tower’s extensive network of rural communications sites to enhance this initiative and roll out service at a faster pace.  

“Since our CAFII funding initiated in Summer 2019, our team has put forth tremendous effort in scaling our operational service area into rural markets, and we are continually looking at opportunities to partner with others to accelerate that pace even further. American Tower is uniquely positioned to be that partner for us,” said Nextlink Internet CEO Bill Baker. “With a robust portfolio in rural markets and proven track record of providing exceptional service to ISPs and fixed wireless providers,” Baker called American Tower the “ideal partner” and its “preferred tower provider” to help his company meet critical build deadlines and expedite internet access in underserved areas.

“We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Nextlink Internet through this mutually beneficial agreement,” said Steve Vondran, Executive Vice President and President, U.S. Tower Division at American Tower. He said the towerco is excited to work with Nextlink Internet and help efforts to close the digital divide. 

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