Crown Castle to integrate Lightower with existing fiber assets

small cells (Crown Castle)
Crown Castle's CFO says it plans to combine all of its fiber operations under the Lightower brand (Image: Crown Castle).

Now that Crown Castle has Lightower firmly under its fiber solutions belt, the tower company plans to integrate its fiber assets under Lightower.

Dan Schlanger, CFO of Crown Castle, told investors during the Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference that combining the fiber assets will enable the company to meet its fiber network revenue goals.

In recent years, Crown Castle has been building up an arsenal of fiber assets. Previously, the service provider purchased Sunesys, FPL FiberNet and Wilcon.

“What we’re doing now is not only integrating Lightower into the Crown Castle system, but also integrating the other fiber assets we integrated over the past few years into Lightower,” Schlanger said. “It’s a bit of a complex integration, but at the end what we want is a seamless interaction both between all the fiber businesses, between the fiber business overall and the small cell business in the legacy Crown Castle.”

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Integrating the other fiber assets under Lightower, which Crown Castle completed in November, makes sense as it will pair the remaining assets with a well-established brand and network.

By purchasing Lightower, 32,000 route miles of fiber located primarily in metro markets in the Northeast, including Boston, New York and Philadelphia. After completing the acquisition, Crown Castle will own or have rights to approximately 60,000 route miles of fiber, with a presence in all the top 10 and 23 of the top 25 metro markets. That will make the company one of the larger fiber U.S. network operators.

“We closed the Lightower acquisition in November and it’s a great business,” Schlanger said. “The Lightower assets are attractive because they own and operate a dense metro fiber network in the Northeast and those are markets we did not have access to previously.”

Crown plans to use the Lightower to serve two main business lines: small cells and other enterprise and adjacent wholesale opportunities.

Schlanger said that the goal for the fiber solutions group is to align the right opportunities with its fiber assets.

“What we’re trying to do is put the right types of revenue streams against all our fiber so we can leverage that asset as many times as we can,” Schlanger said.