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AT&T and BlackRock create wholesale fibre joint venture

Businessman hands connecting puzzle pieces representing the merg

AT&T and BlackRock Alternatives (BlackRock) have signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture creating a new wholesale commercial fibre platform.

“Now more than ever, people are recognizing that connecting changes everything” said John Stankey, CEO of AT&T.

“With this joint venture, more customers and communities outside of our traditional service areas will receive the social and economic benefits of the world’s most durable and capable technology to access all the internet has to offer.”

The new joint venture, known as Gigapower LLC, is being financed through a fund managed by BlackRock's Diversified Infrastructure business, and will provide fibre network connectivity to internet service providers as well as other businesses across the US.

“We believe Gigapower’s fibre infrastructure designed as a commercial open access platform will more efficiently connect communities across the United States with critical broadband services,” said Mark Florian, global head of diversified infrastructure at BlackRock.

“We look forward to partnering with Gigapower’s highly experienced management team to support the company’s fibre deployment plans and shared infrastructure business model.”

Specifically, Gigapower will serve customers outside of AT&T’s 21-state wireline service footprint with fibre access technologies, and AT&T will use its national wireless sales capabilities to sell fibre to customers across Gigapower's footprint.

The company plans to deploy a multi-gig fibre network to 1.5 million customer locations across the US using a commercial open access platform building on AT&T’s target of 30 million-plus fibre locations by the end of 2025.

“Fibre is the lifeblood of digital commerce. We have a proven team of professionals building this scalable, commercial open access wireline fibre network," said Bill Hogg, CEO of Gigapower.

"Our goal is to help local service providers provide fibre connectivity, create the communications infrastructure needed to power the next generation of services and bring multi-gig capabilities to help close the gap for those who currently are without multi-gig service.”

Once the deal is complete, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, AT&T and BlackRock will jointly own and manage Gigapower.