Can a new privately-funded fiber provider survive and thrive in rural markets? LiveOak Fiber, launched in June 2022, and its backers believe so. The company has greenfield 10 Gbps networks under construction in Glynn County, Georgia, and Okaloosa County, Florida, with the first customers expected to come online in both locations this month.
“In general, we believe small town America has been underserved,” said Jody Craft, President, LiveOak Fiber. “We're trying to bring affordable connectivity to these areas. They were really impacted during the pandemic and it became obvious to everyone that the digital infrastructure in these areas wasn’t up to speed to support remote learning and applications that are needed at home. It really drew us to these areas to build and address these market needs and the acceptance by these communities has been absolutely wonderful.”
LiveOak plans to differentiate itself in three ways within the markets they serve. First, by building a greenfield network, LiveOak doesn’t have to worry about having to support legacy infrastructure and compromising its service offering by working with last-generation technologies. Second, the company will focus on delivering a superior in-home experience including an “exceptional Wi-Fi experience,” said Craft. Finally, the company will be focused on local service, with all technicians and support representatives members of the community in which they work.
“The experience that our customers are going to receive is a local resource to address its needs and be responsive in its market, instead of at some remote facility as a large provider would have to do,” Craft said. “We're a company that's built on a statement that we're here to improve the quality of life for the communities we serve. That is our main focus and we're a value-driven company. Our favorite saying is ‘Profitability is a reward for a job well done.’”
Craft said existing service providers aren’t pushing what today’s technology can deliver, such as 10 Gbps services, and they aren’t delivering a quality customer experience. Call centers and other support provided by incumbents are remote resources that aren’t as responsive to smaller markets due to its size and distance.
To learn more about LiveOak’s strategy to bring 10 Gbps greenfield services to rural markets, tune in to the latest Fiber for Breakfast podcast.