FirstLight Fiber acquires G4 Communications, enhances New Hampshire network presence

FirstLight Fiber is expanding its presence in the New Hampshire market by reaching an asset purchase agreement to acquire all of G4 Communications' holdings, including its customer base and its Manchester, N.H., data center.

Both companies expect the deal to close after meeting customary regulatory approvals.

So what does FirstLight get from this acquisition?

The service provider will acquire G4's well-established customer base that includes the town of Derry, Hanover Police Department and Coos County Family Health Services. It will also be able to enhance support and services to G4's existing customers.

James Capuano, senior vice president and chief of network operations for FirstLight Fiber, told FierceTelecom that G4 enhances FirstLight's service mix with a set of products and services and markets that are focused on the needs of large enterprise, the health care vertical, higher education, and state and local government.

"If you look at FirstLight as a company, we have a very strong enterprise presence in the Albany, New York market," he said. "What we have been trying to do as we pick up these fiber assets is take those capabilities, spread it across our network, and G4 helps us do that very, very quickly."

Capuano added that "we can support the services they do today, but by adding fiber to the mix it also allows us to climb up the ladder a bit as well."

Another key asset is G4's 77 Sundial data center in Manchester, N.H., which will complement its growing collection of data centers in northern New England and New York. FirstLight already had connected its fiber into this facility.

"77 Sundial has to be the largest data center in southern New Hampshire," Capuano said. "We picked up a large data center that fits in well with our data centers" in Keene, N.H.; Burlington, Vt.; and Albany, N.Y.  

G4 Communications is just one acquisition that FirstLight has made in recent years to enhance its New Hampshire and overall northern New England presence.

Other key acquisitions it has made in recent years were TelJet and segTEL. These deals complemented the network it built organically with additional fiber-based assets to accommodate its wholesale and enterprise customer needs. 

These acquisitions combined with its own network build-out efforts have been important in helping FirstLight build out 190,000 route miles of fiber throughout New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York. They also run four data center facilities serving a mix of wholesale and business customers.

Capuano said that while G4 does have some fiber assets, it mostly established customer connections by deploying its own routers and switches and renting local loops from the local ILEC FairPoint.

"Our previous acquisitions were more focused more on fiber assets, but G4 is a little bit different for us," he said. "What G4 brings to us is their product set and customer set so this is a bit of a jumpstart in that market from an enterprise perspective." 

Capuano added that he does not expect to alter current G4 operations, but rather capitalize on their customer service capabilities.

"We have the intention of providing the same services to those customers," he said. "When you look at these integrations, companies say 'these guys are great [at] this' and the first thing they do is go in and dismantle the organization and change everything, but that's not our intention." 

For more:
- see the release

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Updated article with quotes from James Capuano, senior vice president and chief of network operations for FirstLight Fiber.