Since 2007, Lightower Fiber Networks, through CEO Rob Shanahan's leadership, has been on its own path through organic growth and M&A activity to beef up its regional and nationwide fiber network footprint. However, Lightower has been making these expansions in strategic metro areas such as Boston, New York, Hudson Valley in addition to expanding its long-haul network capabilities.
Shanahan has been a card carrying competitive telecom player for over two decades with plenty of experience working for competitive service providers, including the former MCI, ACC and most recently Conversent Communications, a CLEC he founded in 1998.
Given the relative failures of many of the CLECs that emerged in the late 1990s with the dawn of the FCC's 1996 Telecom Act, Conversent was seen as a success story.
After Conversant was bought by ONE Communications in June 2006, Shanahan was hired by Lightower as President and CEO of Lightower Fiber Networks when Lightower split itself up into two separate divisions: Lightower Wireless LLC and Lightower Fiber LLC.
After helping to broker a deal to purchase the former DataNet and KeySpan Communications' fiber assets--two deals that more than tripled its available route miles--Lightower has been strategically adding more components and routes to its growing fiber network.
Joining other competitive service providers, other recent deals of fiber the service provider has been its acquisition of Lexent Metro Connect and Veroxity.
Of course, this network expansion is not simply about scale, it's about services, in particular, low-latency fiber-based services. By acquiring Lexent Metro Connect, for example, provides it with additional low latency routes between New York City and New Jersey financial exchanges and data centers.
Similarly, with the recent closing of its acquisition of Veroxity Lightower New England and New York City, and adds a national long haul network connecting major U.S. cities.
As Shanahan continues to build out Lightower's fiber network and service arsenal organically and through M&A, the obvious challenge he'll face throughout 2010 and into 2011 will be in maintaining consistency across all of its properties.