245 million reasons to look at Integra Telecom

Integra Telecom is the Portland, Ore.-based CLEC that recently received a $245 million investment from Warburg Pincus. Initial reports suggest Integra will use at least some of that money to fund future acquisitions, so things are about to get interesting with this 11-year-old CLEC.

Not that they haven't been interesting already: Integra acquired fellow CLEC Electric Lightwave last year, and more recently has moved to acquire another CLEC, Minneapolis-based Eschelon, in a deal scheduled to close next week. The Eschelon acquisition will balloon Integra's customer base from near 300,000 in eight states to around 900,000 in 11 states.

The company employs what CEO Dudley Slater refers to as a "high-touch" customer service experience. Even bigger telcos than Integra have been challenged by merger integration issues, so it remains to be seen if Integra can continue to be so high-touch with a much larger customer base. For a recent interview with Slater, read this Telephony Q&A.