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Flume lights up dark fiber to bring fast internet to more people – TechCrunch


That’s the darkest thing – in major cities about 30% of homes have fiber optic cable running in front of the house due to a local cell site or corporate customer, but a group of humans still uses dial-up gears. Flume Internet is harnessing underutilized fiber optic capacity to make high-speed internet accessible to more people, including the New York Housing Authority, its partner in bringing high-speed internet to populations that have traditionally been low priority for telecommunications operators.

The company’s goal is to use its asset-light approach and expand into more than 20 markets over the next few years with infrastructure partners and asset owners. A big part of its mission is to connect underconnected neighborhoods. The company’s main customer in New York is NYCHA, with hundreds of homes connected to Flume through the government’s Affordable Connectivity program. The company has grown rapidly in the wake of the pandemic as many cities and apartment building owners want cheaper broadband options. An important part of their vision is to accelerate the construction of fiber in the remaining 60% of residences nationwide in a carrier-neutral manner.

The company suggests that only about 9% of homes have a true fiber-to-the-home option, in other words, the entire network between your home and the provider’s data center is fiber.

Flume has developed a compact edge data center that allows it to serve thousands of gigabit customers from a single rack of data center space. They use this technology to map and power broadband over unused or “black” fiber cables in cities across the United States to bring broadband options to residences and apartment buildings at a fraction of the cost. . The company says most cities have 10 to 15 unused fibers for every residential building. Its goal is to be the largest fiber ISP in the United States that still controls the path of end-consumer packets to the data center—that is, without buying or reselling last-mile traffic.

Flume awarded $3.5 million in funding late last year, but has decided to announce the round now. Amplo and Hyperplane.vc co-led the round, with participation from the Citi Impact Fund and Fund NY.

The company’s service is now available in “thousands” of homes, and its plan is expected to be available in more than 20,000 homes by the end of the year.

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