Wave acquires Cascade Networks to boost West Coast fiber network reach

Troy A. Pentecost has been appointed to the additional positions of president and interim senior executive officer, effective immediately.
The acquisition of Cascade "fit like a puzzle piece" in its network strategy, Wave President Harold Zeitz said.

Wave has acquired Cascade Networks, a data connectivity provider focused on serving businesses in the northwest United States. The deal adds over 350 route miles of fiber to Wave's growing West Coast network.

Cascade made a name for itself as a data provider for business and residential customers in the Longview, Washington, and Clatskanie, Oregon, areas.

As a business provider, Cascade Networks delivers enterprises and other business customers a wide suite of services, including fiber and wireless high-speed internet, VoIP telephony and colocation facilities.

As part of the deal, Wave will get Cascade’s Longview, Washington, colocation facility.

Cascade also supports thousands of residential customers with internet, home phone and TV services.

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Upon completing the acquisition, Cascade Network customers will continue to be supported by the company’s locally based employees.

Harold Zeitz, president of Wave, told FierceTelecom that Cascade gives it fiber depth in new areas and a complementary set of residential and business customers.

“In addition to having a 350 route mile network in a place where we had not much built out, it fit like a puzzle piece,” Zeitz said. “They also have a set of commercial and residential customers and a strong team there who we are retaining to support the customers and grow the business, so it’s a nice fit for our expansion.”

Cascade's crown jewel

While Cascade has a residential business unit, the crown jewel for Wave is that the acquisition will enhance its business services capabilities. Cascade will give Wave a complementary set of fiber and broadband wireless assets to serve customers with data, voice and colocation.

Business services are a major part of Wave’s growth plans. Its Wave G Business provides symmetrical gigabit internet connectivity to businesses often found on the ground floors of Wave G-serviced residential apartment buildings.

“The commercial services Cascade had fit right in line with the commercial services we had like private network, point-to-point, and point-to-multipoint high speed data for businesses in the area,” Zeitz said. “Because of the Cascade network will then be interconnected with our broader 6,000 route mile core network it will enable us to offer more advance services to customers.”

By building out custom networks for many of its business customers, Cascade was able to rapidly scale its own fiber network.

“They offered custom designed local fiber networks and in many cases built to suit, which then added to their own network that they were able to sell on,” Zeitz said. “This is very much like the strategy we employed when we started so we’re going to take on those customers.”  

The acquisition will also increase Wave’s on-net fiber footprint, enabling it to serve more businesses and wholesale wireless customers with a mix of lit and dark fiber services.   

“We’re a carrier’s carrier so we support other telecom providers with some of their needs and providing services to wireless operators,” Zeitz said. “Government, education, and medical are sending amazing amounts of data and need really high bandwidth services and often custom point-to-multipoint networks.”

Connecting education

Zeitz said that winning deals with local school districts enables Wave to attract other local business customers.

“School districts are running their own networks these days and they need sophisticated providers like us to help them with that,” Zeitz said. “As we expand the network, we’re able to just with a lateral move to be able to attach a local business that wants direct internet access.”

Wave is hardly alone in establishing school districts as an anchor tenant. Other fiber providers like Conterra, Fatbeam and Zayo take a similar approach to their fiber builds in the areas where they provide service.

But fiber and customer assets are just one element of the value Wave sees in Cascade. Data center and colocation is another benefit of the acquisition.

Upon completing the acquisition of Cascade, Wave—which already connects over 50 data centers on its fiber network—will gain another aggregation point for its customers.

“Business services are the primary piece of the acquisition rather than the data center, although that’s an element of it,” Zeitz said.

Focus on expansion

Purchasing Cascade is just one element in a broader plan to expand the company via acquisitions and organic growth initiatives.

Wave has never been shy about acquisitions, having purchased 20 companies since it was founded in 2002.

Besides Cascade, some of Wave’s more recent acquisitions include Oregon-based business provider CoastCom and Vancouver-based SawNet.

In 2016, Wave secured $125 million to add over 100 route miles of its own fiber each month to complement its West Coast fiber network and expand its business services unit.

Wave has over 5,500 route fiber miles, serving a number of markets from the San Francisco Bay area north to the Canadian border. 

The company continues to expand its network by adding more fiber miles every month, and the Cascade deal complements that effort.

“The Cascade acquisition is an example of the growth strategy we have had in place for some time,” Zeitz said. “We have continued to build out our network building 100 miles a month and as we continue to do so we have run across opportunities of networks that are already built that fit in the framework of our expansion.”