Fatbeam acquires EMAN Networks' Spokane Valley network, gains 24.5 miles of fiber

Fatbeam, a regional fiber provider, is acquiring EMAN Networks' metro fiber network in the Central Valley area of Spokane, Wash., a move that will give it an additional 24.5 miles of metro fiber.

By acquiring these assets, Fatbeam now has 301 miles of fiber network connecting 23 markets in the Pacific Northwest.

Besides increasing its fiber reach, the agreement comes with a new customer: Spokane's Central Valley School District. The service provider plans to connect EMAN's fiber assets to its own existing fiber network in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, to provide dark fiber services to the school district.

"Our headquarters is in Coeur d' Alene, Idaho, which is right on the border of Washington and right there is Spokane, so we acquired a fiber network that the school district has been using for ten years from a small company called EMAN," said Greg Green, president of Fatbeam, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "What we liked about it was obviously we bought it right in terms of price and secondly we entered into a long-term contract with the Central Valley School district, so the stars aligned on it."

Under the terms of a long-term agreement with the Central Valley School District, Fatbeam will deliver dark fiber services to 24 school district facilities.

"What's most interesting for us is it's within a mile of touching our North Idaho network," Green said. "We'll build a couple miles of fiber to extend our fiber plant to a pretty robust North Idaho network that puts us in another market."

Washington State has been a key expansion target for Fatbeam. The service provider has built fiber networks Centralia, Cowiche, Liberty Lake, Medical Lake, Moxee, Spokane, Sunnyside, Tacoma, Walla Walla and Yakima. One of its most agreements was with the city of Pasco to build a high capacity fiber optic network and deliver dark fiber services to its 24 school district facilities.

Fatbeam has been able to find a sizeable niche serving dark fiber solutions to school districts in towns and cities that have been largely ignored by large telcos or cable operators. In addition to the Central Valley School District, Fatbeam serves the Coeur d'Alene School District, Post Falls School District and the Medical Lake School District.

While school districts have been a key target of growth for its fiber network, Fatbeam has been keen on offering its service to other area wholesale and business customers once it gains an anchor tenant on its network in each city and town it serves.

Green said that while it has a preference for organic growth, Fatbeam is open to acquiring other fiber assets if they are at the right price and complement its current network holdings.

"We had such great success growing organically because it's the best return on investment for us, but when we can find unique assets that complement what we already have and they are priced right we're continuing to look for acquisitions," Green said. "In fact, we're looking at a couple of acquisitions now, ...but we want to buy them at a value that makes sense."

For more:
- see the release

Special report: From AT&T to Fatbeam: The top 10 (and more) biggest providers of fiber in the U.S.

Related articles:
Frontier says E-rate funding should not fund middle-mile overbuilds
Fatbeam brings 2 Gbps fiber network to Butte, Mont., school district
Fatbeam's EMAN acquisition ups Washington State fiber presence