Fiber Companies Grab M&A Spotlight
Last year's flurry of fiber consolidation that began with Verizon's acquisition of XO Communications' fiber business continues unabated into 2017 as recent headlines from a growing number of providers demonstrates.
Along with an expanded customer base, enhanced operating efficiencies and increased purchasing power, these moves give cable companies access to a broader pool of professionals in sales, engineering, deployment and network operations. Demand for fiber continues to grow -- and with it, demand for expanded fiber reach. Big 2016 deals targeting this goal included CenturyLink's pitch for Level 3, Consolidated and FairPoint, Windstream and Earthlink, plus Zayo and Electric Lightwave.
With its recently announced acquisition of Cascade Networks, Wave Broadband gets 350 route miles added to its west coast fiber network. This marks the 15-year-old company's 21st acquisition.
Days earlier, Conterra Ultra Broadband Holdings Inc. disclosed it had purchased two regional optical fiber-based broadband businesses that could expand its fiber footprint to more than 6,200 route miles and 355,000 fiber miles across seven states. Detel and Broadplex will operate as wholly owned subsidiaries.
And FirstLight Fiber started off the year by completing its acquisition of Oxford Networks, combining the two companies' operations to create 5,000 route miles of high-capacity, fiber optic networks over ten data centers and 4,400 locations in five states, FirstLight says. Once the service provider's acquisition of Sovernet closes sometime in early 2017, FirstLight expects to almost double its route miles, expand into Canada and add one data center plus about 600 on-net locations, it says.
For its part, real estate investment trust Communications Sales & Leasing is banking on fiber, Chief Financial Officer Mark Wallace told the audience at the Citi 2017 Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference this week. In 2016, the company formed the Uniti Fiber division and says approximately 60% of its "pipeline by asset type is in the fiber category." One of CS&L's acquisition strategies will be to focus on fiber business, Wallace says.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Get more news on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.
In a flurry of activity throughout the week, Donald (DJ) LaVoy, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the US Department of Agriculture, and his team spent about $145.8 million in the non-urban or suburban areas of seven states.
Calix reported revenue of $120.19 million – up 4% – in Q4 2019, putting a bounce in the step of company president and CEO Carl Russo and a shine to Calix's ongoing transition from hardware vendor to a provider of platforms enabled by cloud, APIs and subscriber experience.
Looking to curtail e-waste and improve the bottom line, BT will require customers to return routers and set-top boxes, although subscribers will not have to pay a fee when they receive regular broadband equipment.
The industry standards organization is looking to ease operator pain from residential WiFi, while it also sees initiatives in connected home and other projects bear fruit.
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s, contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
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