Integra acquires opticAccess, expands Washington, California network reach

Integra is beefing up its West Coast fiber network presence by acquiring opticAccess, a three-year old competitive provider that's focused on providing services for large enterprises and domestic and international wholesale carrier customers.

Integra network west coast

Integra's West Coast network footprint. Newly acquired opticAccess assets are highlighted in red (Source: Integra).

By acquiring opticAccess, Integra will immediately enhance its Western fiber reach with a 3,500 route mile network, which reaches from Seattle to San Diego, with much of its metro fiber route miles being in California's Bay Area and Los Angeles metro areas.

"With our metro and long-haul network strategy, we have Electric Lightwave and Integra Business and we have been very successful in organic growth since we kicked that off," said Dan Stoll, president of Integra's Electric Lightwave division, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We're able to serve those Tier 1 markets that are simply asset-rich and in that we can combine unique, diverse, low-latency solutions for those data-centric markets as well as how we can deliver Ethernet and provide other applications such as voice, security and firewall." 

This acquisition is key for Integra on a number of levels.

In deepening its Western metro fiber footprint, Integra will now have dense, unique fiber routes in all of the major U.S. Western markets, enabling it to serve a broader mix of customers, including content and technology providers, financial services companies and Asia-Pacific carriers that need access into the Bay Area market.

"If you think about opticAccess, they are a small and agile network-focused development company that was in the business of building those highly customized networks for a small number of customers," Stoll said. "This included the top end content, Asia-Pacific and the carrier's carrier so what they were great at was looking at the markets and those customers and planning and engineering those routes, which allows opportunities to serve those other customers with access to cable access landing stations aligns with us very well."

Upon completion of the acquisition, Integra expects that it will increase its addressable near-net network reach -- which it defines as buildings within 2,500 feet of its fiber network -- by nearly 40 percent. It said it will also have "sizeable additional opportunities" as it continues to expand and build out its fiber network.

An additional benefit of the acquisition is that it will enhance its regional long-haul fiber network solution, one that it has been expanding in recent years with 100G capabilities. In October 2014, the service provider introduced a set of new Express Routes that provide point-to-point 100G connectivity between a number of key metro areas in the Western U.S., including Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Another advantage of this acquisition is reducing network access costs.

While Integra has long-haul fiber network reach into the Bay Area and Los Angeles, it did not have last-mile facilities into these two cities, meaning it had to rent copper and fiber-based access to serve its business customers.

"When you look at the West, there are two markets that we essentially have access to and they serve as part of our long-haul, which is the Bay Area and Los Angeles, but we really just serviced key data centers from a transit and big pipe perspective" Stoll said. "When you think of customers in the West that are in our space so many of them have a strong presence particularly in the Bay as well as corridors in Los Angeles that also have many locations in other parts of our footprint to service those customers we had been generally type 2 to provide access to that customer location."

Stoll added that it can "now capture every metro within the West and expand our product portfolio and opportunity set with those customers." 

This acquisition also ties in well with the realignment of its two-tier customer service model: Electric Lightwave (large enterprise, government, education and carrier customers) and Integra Business (regional and middle-market enterprise customers) units.

While growing its fiber and IP networks organically has been a key focus for the competitive provider, Integra has not been shy about making acquisitions, particularly regional providers complement and expand its network reach and customer base.

In July 2014, the service provider acquired World Communications, a provider that enabled it to immediately expand its growing network and service presence in Washington State.

After meeting necessary state and federal regulatory approvals, Integra said it expects to close the acquisition of opticAccess in the fourth quarter of 2015.

For more:
- see the release

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Integra acquires World Communications, enhances Washington state reach

This article was updated with additional information from Integra on Aug. 18.