So, yes I missed this one last week while travelling at ITW out in Chicago, so let’s catch up. Within its earnings release, Uniti Group announced the acquisition of a strategic fiber portfolio from CenturyLink.
As part of the CenturyLink/Level 3 deal, CenturyLink agreed to divest itself of metro networks in Tucson, Albuquerque and Boise and to sell off a pile of longhaul dark fiber IRUs. We’ve FirstDigital, UPN, and Syringa step up for the metro assets, and now we know (some of us earlier than others) that Uniti purchased the longhaul dark fiber piece.
The deal brings to Uniti Fiber 30 intercity dark fiber routes spanning 11,000 route miles and 270,000 strand miles across 25 states, which the company has already added to its network map (snapshot left). Uniti says that it has already lined up a Fortune 100 anchor customer for 11% of the strand miles, and expects to lease more of it over time – possibly some of it this year.
The number of places one can go to get intercity dark fiber IRUs has dropped steadily since the dotcom era, largely due to consolidation but also due to a reluctance among network operators to enable the competition. Uniti hopes to take advantage of that situation.
Uniti also closed on the first tranche of its purchase/leaseback of assets from TPx, the sort of deal many expected them to do more of as a REIT before they started buying operating networks by the bucketful. The rest of the deal is expected to close in Q3.
Financial details of the deal with CenturyLink IRU deal were not disclosed.
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