Conterra acquires Detel, Broadplex, furthers regional fiber provider consolidation

Conterra has acquired regional fiber providers Detel and Broadplex, two deals that will immediately expand the Charlotte, North Carolina, network’s footprint throughout the Southeast.

These acquisitions are clearly about scale. By making these deals, Conterra will have a fiber footprint that will span over 6,200 route miles and 355,000 fiber miles.

The service provider will now provide a mix of lit and dark fiber network services in the Southeast, Gulf Coast/Midwest and Western regions of the United States.  

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“We have been working closely with both Detel and Broadplex for years and plan to take advantage of the many benefits that our larger scale, operating efficiencies and local customer relationships will bring to our combined bandwidth infrastructure growth as a result of these transactions,” said Steve Leeolou, president and CEO of Conterra, in a release.

Scaling on-net, near-net opportunities

Another key element of the acquisition is that Conterra will enhance its reach into existing business buildings, wireless towers, and data centers.

Today, Conterra currently has over 3,500 on-net locations connected to its network, including over 500 owned and operated communication towers that support school districts and wireless carriers. The combined fiber network infrastructure will also expand Conterra’s near-net customer opportunities by nearly 5,000 enterprises, multitenant buildings, state and local government agencies and additional wireless carrier towers.  

Upon completion of these acquisitions, Louisiana-based Detel and North Carolina-based Broadplex will become subsidiaries of Conterra.

Detel and Broadplex, which have been building and operating facilities-based lit and dark fiber and related networks for over 15 years, serve a similar customer base of K-12 school districts, wireless and wireline carriers, healthcare organizations, government agencies and Fortune 500 enterprises.

Conterra said that the founders and management teams of Detel and Broadplex will stay on with Conterra to help support and grow their original businesses as well as assist with Conterra’s fiber expansion plans companywide.

As a result of these acquisitions, Conterra has added substantial sales, engineering, deployment and network operations capabilities to support its current and future customers primarily in the company’s Southeast and Gulf Coast spheres of operation. Metropolitan Statistical Areas in which the company operates broadband networks span multiple cities in the Southeast and Western United States, including California, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and New Mexico.

Regional consolidation continues

With many of the largest fiber providers being purchased, Conterra is one of the largest remaining independent broadband infrastructure companies in the United States based on its fiber assets and revenues. Conterra is majority owned by Court Square Capital, a private investment firm with approximately $5 billion under management, with the remaining ownership largely held by Conterra’s management team. 

Conterra is hardly alone in its desire to consolidate the regional fiber provider market, a trend that fellow fiber-centric providers Zayo and FirstLight Fiber are following closely.

Ken desGarennes, CFO of Zayo, told investors during the recent Citi 2017 Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference that there’s “still regional fiber providers out there that could be interesting tuck-in acquisitions.”

Meanwhile, FirstLight Fiber’s new owner, Oak Hill Capital Partners, completed its acquisition of Oxford Networks, combining the two companies to create a regional service provider with 415,000 fiber miles in the Northeast.

Additionally, FirstLight is purchasing middle mile provider Sovernet, an acquisition that will further increase its size and geographic footprint. After completing these acquisitions, FirstLight will have a network that will consist of 9,500 route miles in five states and Canada, more than 5,000 on-net locations, and 11 data centers with 128,000 square feet of space.