Lightower Looks West, Plans Chicago Offensive

December 11th, 2013 by · 10 Comments

The northeastern fiber operator Lightower announced a major metro expansion on its western frontier. That's Chicago of course, the Midwestern footprint it picked up with the Sidera acquisition earlier this year.

lightowermapLightower will be building out multiple new fiber rings both downtown and through the nearby suburbs of Oak Brook, Elk Grove and Franklin Park. It will also hit key locations like O'Hare International Airport and Lacey Road, and bring hundreds of commercial buildings into range of the company's services if not on-net right off the bat. They'll hitting the ground running, with extra sales and support staff coming in to hit the streets and the first customers online in early 2014.

Lightower is also busy with an expansion down in Virginia that Sidera had started earlier. Combined with the integration work since closing the deal last Spring, they've had their hands full. The decision to undertake another significant expansion which happens to be in the one market they have that lies outside the northeastern corridor suggests they are ready to move back to an offensive stance already.

Of course, recent history has Lightower and the private equity guys behind them as a significant consolidator in the fiber space, so as soon as they're ready I think another deal is a likely next step.  DukeNet would have made sense but obviously TWC won that auction.  But for Lightower the best target would be one that would help bridge the fiber gap to Chicago.  Lumos perhaps?

Categories: Mergers and Acquisitions · Metro fiber

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10 Comments So Far


  • Anonymous says:

    Did you see the Winstream CEO stated they are ready to perform additional M&A with emphasis on West Coast and data center expansion. Would Integra be the unstated target in this conversation

  • Fibermancer says:

    In terms of filling the gap, what about US Signal?

    • Rob Powell says:

      US Signal? Maybe, but they are less of a pure fiber infrastructure provider than Lightower, focusing more on the enterprise/cloud opportunity right now and much less on building new loops and bringing things on-net. The customer bases and asset density wouldn’t really match up all that well. That being said, they probably match up well enough if both parties were looking.

  • Anonymous says:

    I dont that US Signal fills a gap for them in the West Coast. US Signal Grand Rapids based seesm to provide mid america , an area where Windstream Paetec/KDL acquisition seems to have assisted them

  • Brent Neader says:

    Fibertech a worthwhile buy?

    • Anonymous says:

      Fibertech is a great buy. The mgmt team is solid, assets and contracted revenue is solid.

    • Rob Powell says:

      For Lightower? It would be logical enough, but the folks in Rochester have been playing their cards close to their chest. I have no sense they are ready to sell, though with private equity there is always a price tag somewhere.

      • Brent Neader says:

        Yes, for Lightower. I figure anything is for sale for the right price, and it seems like it would be complementary to their footprint. Give them a deeper presence in overlapping markets, plus give them new markets out west (NY, OH, IN, etc). It would seem they are either both building out in VA, or are doing some sort of fiber sharing/swapping because they both have new markets under construction there.

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