Industry Trend: CLEC Consolidation Creates "Super-Regional' Fiber Network
With all the mergers and acquisitions activity in the telecommunications industry it was just a matter of time before Maine realized the effects. The recent announcement that private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners will purchase 100 year old Oxford Networks completes the 'roll-up' of 3 CLECs that have operated in Maine for decades. This chain of events started in 2014 when Oxford was purchased by NovaCap, a Quebec-based private equity firm. NovaCap then acquired BayRing Communications, a Portsmouth NH CLEC, in 2015, merging them into Oxford. Oak Hill's planned acquisition of FirstLight and Oxford Networks will create a 'super-regional' 4800 route mile fiber network spanning throughout Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. The combined companies will also have 10 data centers within the network footprint.
While it's not yet clear how and whether FirstLight will continue to operate the legacy Oxford local exchange carrier business, the focus on reliable wholesale services, wireless backhaul and medium to large enterprise business is likely to continue. The combined company should be in a great position to compete with the largest incumbents in the state, FairPoint and Time Warner (now Charter) Cable. All customers in Maine benefit from competition.