FirstLight Fiber, Oxford Networks combine fiber-optic networks

Northeast U.S. fiber-optic networks service provider FirstLight Fiber says its owner, Oak Hill Capital Partners, has completed its acquisition of fellow network services provider Oxford Networks and combined the operations of the two companies. FirstLight now operates a 5,000 route mile network across five states as a result.

Northeast U.S. fiber-optic networks service provider FirstLight Fiber says its owner, Oak Hill Capital Partners, has completed its acquisition of fellow network services provider Oxford Networks and combined the operations of the two companies. FirstLight now operates a 5,000 route mile network across five states as a result.

The network currently serves 4,400 locations and 10 data centers. Many of the data centers are SOC 2 compliant and offer cloud and managed services.

"The acquisition of Oxford doubles the size of our business, dramatically increases our scale and network reach, and better positions FirstLight to continue meeting the growing bandwidth infrastructure needs of our customers," says Kurt Van Wagenen, president and CEO of FirstLight. "FirstLight and Oxford are highly complementary in terms of fiber footprint, service set, customer base, employee expertise, and mission, which will ease integration efforts. We expect this to be a seamless transaction for our customers and significantly enhance our operating platform as we continue to grow the business."

Oak Hill announced last July that it had agreed to acquire Oxford with the intent of combining it with FirstLight, which it had purchased the previous March from Riverside Partners (see "Oak Hill Capital Partners to buy Oxford Networks, pair with FirstLight Fiber" and "Oak Hill Capital Partners targets FirstLight Fiber"). Bank Street Capital Partners and Riverside Partners will continue as minority investors in the combined company. Financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Oak Hill isn't finished rolling up network services providers. "This transaction represents an exciting next step in our plan to create the leading fiber provider in the Northeastern U.S. The combined company, along with the previously announced acquisition of Sovernet Communications, will form an entity that has an exceptional foundation to serve the needs of both regional enterprises and communications carriers," according to Scott Baker and Benjy Diesbach, partners at Oak Hill and members of FirstLight's board of directors.

Sovernet, whose purchase Oak Hill hopes to close early this year, operates in Vermont, New York and southwest New Hampshire. Adding those assets, FirstLight's infrastructure will expand to 9,500 route miles in five states and Canada, more than 5,000 on-net locations, and 11 data centers with 128,000 square feet of space.

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