Let's catch up on some recent news from the metro fiber operators and a quick look at the U.S. Business Ethernet Leaderboard according to Vertical Systems Group:
Lightower Fiber Networks (news) dipped a sizeable mug into the credit markets' pool yesterday. GE Capital's TMT group is providing a $380M credit facility to the northeastern fiber operator. Lightower was very active in the 2010 M&A marketplace, and then spent 2011 integrating and making organic moves. What they're going to be using the $380M facility for isn't clear. It could simply be an opportunistic way to rationalize their balance sheet, or they could be planning another foray into inorganic expansion that requires more financial flexibility.
Southern Telecom picked up a fiber deal with Tower Cloud. The tower backhaul operator will be leveraging southern Telecom's intercity fiber in Georgia to help power their expansion. Tower Cloud, as I recall, was started by former executives from Progress Telecom after Level 3 bought that company. They aimed at the St.Petersburg area of Florida back then, but have expanded their focus throughout the southeast in the years since. Southern Telecom is a subsidiary of energy giant Soutnern Company, and is an asset I have always thought would get consolidated eventually - but not thus far.
The Australian metro fiber of Primus Telecommunications Group (NYSE:PTGI, news, filings) made another bit of news this week. Transaction Network Services has connected its Sydney and Brisbane offices via Primus's OTN DWDM service, providing 100Mbps for now and up to 10Gbps in the future. Primus is known to be considering strategic alternatives, and their Aussie assets are one of their more attractive aspects.
And finally, here's the latest US. Business Ethernet Leaderboard from Vertical Systems Group alongside their previous effort six months earlier:
The top of the list was static of course, but two things stand out in the middle. Apparently XO has been making a big Ethernet move, which suggests that they are seeing substantial success with their Ethernet-over-Copper product line despite the restructuring that has been going on there since Icahn took full control in August. Meanwhile CenturyLink managed to fall two slots despite taking in Savvis in the meantime, with not just XO but also Cox surging ahead. Level 3's purchase of Global Crossing was apparently enough to nudge Cogent out of eighth.
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