nTelos (NASDAQ:NTLS, news, filings), a regional service provider covering Virginia and West Virginia, has announced a deal to buy some 2200 route miles of fiber from Allegheny Power for some $27M. While most of its revenues come from its wireless business in the region, nTelos also operates as both an RLEC and a CLEC and maintains a 2300 mile fiber network throughout the region. Overall its wireline operations earned some $128M in the trailing twelve months. The assets from Allegheny will fill in some blanks in northern West Virginia and add some new territory in western Pennsylvania.
Now, this isn't a blockbuster deal - it's just regional consolidation. But is this a hint of further M&A activity to come? If nothing else, it shows that there are fiber assets out there available for sale. Certainly amongst the energy utilities there are still fiber assets out there that were built during the bubble but aren't being used to their fullest potential. Allegheny's network is just one example of such assets, which generally keep a low profile and thus don't get mentioned much in the media.