FirstLight Closes Fourth Fiber Acquisition As Telecom Market Continues Consolidation Trend


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Consolidation continues to be the name of the game within the telecom industry. Fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider FirstLight has closed its acquisition of 186 Communications, a fellow fiber provider, marking its fourth fiber-related acquisition this year.

FirstLight, based in Albany, N.Y., said it intends to become one of the largest fiber providers serving carriers and business customers in the Northeast when it first revealed its plans to acquire Nashua, N.H-based 186 Communications in July. With the close of the 186 Communications deal, FirstLight now has 14,000 route fiber miles connecting 8,000 locations and 12 data centers across New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.

FirstLight earlier this year completed three other acquisitions: Oxford Networks, Sovernet Communications and Finger Lakes Technologies Group. Financial terms of these transactions, as well as the 186 Communications deal, were not disclosed.

[Related: Report: Verizon Poised To Pounce On More Fiber, Sights Set On WideOpenWest's Network Assets]

“The past year has been a momentous one of growth and advancement for FirstLight," said Kurt Wagenen, FirstLight's president and CEO in a statement. “We are excited to officially combine our operations with 186, and in doing so, extend our network reach even deeper into Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.”

FirstLight provides high-bandwidth connectivity solutions, such as Ethernet and dark fiber services, as well as dedicated internet access solutions, data center, cloud and voice services.  The provider serves wireless providers and wireline carriers, in addition to enterprise customers and local and state governments.

FirstLight partners with master agents such as Avant and Intelisys, and its channel program allows agents to white-label its network, internet, data center, co-location, cloud and voice services.

The telecommunications market has been packed this year with fiber-related acquisitions as service providers build out their footprints in an effort to stay competitive.

In June, telecom provider Cincinnati Bell said it would combine with Hawaiian Telcom and solution provider OnX Enterprise Solutions in an effort to focus more on fiber networking and managed services.

Verizon in February closed its $1.8 billion acquisition of XO Communications, giving the telecom provider access to XO’s robust fiber-based IP and Ethernet networks. The deal brought Verizon's fiber footprint into 45 of the 50 largest U.S. cities.  In April, Verizon committed to purchasing $1.05 billion in fiber-optic cable from specialty manufacturing company Corning, and in June, Verizon signed a three-year deal with the Prysmian Group, a manufacturer of electric power transmission and telecommunications cables and systems worth $300 million.

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