Charter, Frontier rival Greenlight Networks targets 10X footprint expansion

New York-based fiber provider Greenlight Networks is aiming to expand its footprint from 80,000 locations today to 800,000 over the next five years, after securing a $300 million investment from private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners.

Founded in 2011, Greenlight Networks has been a fiber-to-the-home provider since its inception. Founder and CEO Mark Murphy told Fierce it currently serves around 20 municipalities across New York State, including larger markets like Rochester, Buffalo and Binghamton. It currently offers four service tiers ranging from 500 Mbps to 2 Gbps. The latter has been available network-wide on its XGS-PON infrastructure since at least 2019, putting Greenlight on the leading edge of multi-gig service rollouts. Its primary competitors today include Charter Communications, Verizon and Frontier Communications.

As it looks to expand, Murphy said Greenlight is primarily focused on serving New York, particularly in areas like Albany. However, it is also weighing moves into adjacent states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts where it thinks it could find success.

“The number one thing we look at is is there a fiber-based provider there or not. And if there’s not, we think that there’s a tremendous opportunity there for us,” Murphy said of how it is choosing expansion markets.

While Greenlight is aiming to secure a first-mover advantage in its target markets, Murphy said it’s confident it can hold its own against any other fiber players which come to town. That’s key given major players including Frontier, Verizon and AT&T have all unveiled ambitious fiber expansion plans.

“We do compete in places where other providers have come behind us and we’ve done quite well. We’ve also built simultaneously in some areas with other providers and we’ve done exceptionally well there too,” he said.

Murphy argued winning customers isn’t just about having the best broadband offering, but also about customer service. “When we look at our net promoter score which is a 77, I think that’s among the best if not the best in the industry. So, we think we can compete very effectively across whatever the competition is,” he said, adding it believes it can penetrate about half the market in its target areas.

Greenlight’s plan will be fueled by an investment from Oak Hill Capital Partners, which just acquired a majority stake in the company and is contributing $300 million to fund construction work. Oak Hill previously invested in fiber operators MetroNet and Vexus Fiber, which recently announced plans to merge.

“This is a land grab for households passed and so we’re going to go as fast as we can in places we think we can be successful,” Murphy said. “If we can get in front of houses, we know we’re going to get our fair share of those customers and that drives the rest of the business.”