In order to provide fibre connectivity to roughly 55,000 individuals and companies in Norman, Oklahoma, Bluepeak said on Monday that it has signed a franchise deal with the city. The operator is investing $55 million in the buildout, making it Bluepeak’s largest investment outside of South Dakota in a single market.

When asked why Norman was chosen as Bluepeak’s next target for expansion, an operator spokesperson claimed proximity was a major factor. Going into Norman was a “sensible investment” because Shawnee and Midwest City, Oklahoma, where Bluepeak’s other expanding markets are located, are nearby.

The spokesman stated, “Like in all of our expansion markets, we’ve heard from our partners with the city that the community is in need of improved internet options,” adding,  “we’ve had a very productive and supportive partnership with the City of Norman officials in reaching the local franchise agreement.”

Jeff Seidenfaden, the chief commercial and customer experience officer at Bluepeak, revealed in December that the firm was negotiating a number of additional franchise deals, though he did not reveal at the time who those potential partners may be. Following the operator’s announcement of a $30 million expansion project in Midwest City, which is located around 20 miles from the city of Norman, Bluepeak’s agreement with Norman was announced a few weeks ago.

A map zoomed in on the state of Oklahoma
Aside from Oklahoma, Bluepeak currently offers service in southwest Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

“Our fiber-to-the-home network is built to enhance growth, spur economic development, and meet the needs of consumers in Norman well into the future,” said Bluepeak CEO Rich Fish in a statement. “We couldn’t be more pleased with the partnership we’ve struck with the city of Norman to provide better options for internet connectivity here.”

When asked about the project’s timeframe, Bluepeak told Fierce that it is still too early to estimate when construction will start or services will be available. The operator will have more information later this year after it has finalised its budget, the company said.

“But service is typically made available in the first parts of the city within the first six months or so following groundbreaking,” said the Bluepeak representative. “Once it gets started, it would begin our five-year construction project.”

Bluepeak now provides service in Oklahoma, southwest Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming in addition to Oklahoma. It plans to add more than 50,000 more fibre passings this year.

Bluepeak last week appointed longtime Cox Communications employee Kevin Schenck as its new vice president of market expansion, bolstering its expansion efforts. The operator also appointed former Windstream exec Shawn Murray as VP of the Residential Sales division.