Bluebird snaps up $285M in new funding to further its network reach

Dec. 17, 2023
The credit facility will support the company’s continued expansion throughout the Midwest.

Bluebird Network, a communications infrastructure provider and operator of over 11,000 miles of fiber and two data centers, has received $285 million in five-year Senior Secured Credit Facilities. 

Proceeds from the Credit Facilities were used to refinance Bluebird’s existing indebtedness. They will fund ongoing capital expenditures, including network upgrades, expansion into new markets, and an awarded Middle Mile grant build. TD Securities acted as the Lead Left Arranger on the financing and is the Administrative Agent for the Credit Facilities. 

“We’re thrilled to announce the closing of this refinancing,” says Michael Morey, President and CEO of Bluebird Network. “It’s a point of pride that lenders view us as a trustworthy company to work with.”

Scaling up

Unsurprisingly, Bluebird Network is gearing up to meet its customers’ network demands driven by AI and other bandwidth-intensive applications.

According to Allied Market Research, with the existing rise in digital infrastructure needs and the expected meteoric rise in bandwidth demand driven by Artificial Intelligence, the value of the global AI infrastructure market is projected to reach $309.4 billion by 2031. 

Over the past year, Bluebird has built over 360 new route miles of fiber and expanded into several additional markets throughout Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.

The new financing provides Bluebird with the capital to execute development plans by its strategic vision to have a fiber presence in 80 percent of cities with a population of 10,000 people or more across its 11-state footprint in the Midwest.

Focus on long-haul, middle mile

Bluebird is planning additional long-haul fiber routes to complement its fiber network densification projects. It recently completed an underground river crossing in St. Louis, traversing the Mississippi River and adding a new, diverse route to its network offerings next year. 

Another critical focus is the middle mile.

In 2023, the company was awarded a grant as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program. Bluebird won awards totaling $41 million for two projects, including a fiber network in Missouri and another serving Missouri and Oklahoma. The grant will build what Bluebird said could be a “highly desirable” route connecting St. Louis and Tulsa, which is expected to be completed over the next four years.  

“The upsized credit facilities will enable us to execute goals we’ve laid out for 2024 and beyond,” Morey says. “This includes growing our fiber network and taking advantage of strategic opportunities as they may arise.”

Missouri has been a critical growth target of Bluebird to bolster its Midwest fiber presence.

It acquired the middle-mile fiber network assets from Missouri Telecom Inc. (MTI) earlier. From that purchase, Bluebird gained access to 40 route miles of fiber and three Points of Presence (PoPs) in Southwest Missouri, including Mount Vernon, Monett, Nevada, and Aurora.

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About the Author

Sean Buckley

Sean is responsible for establishing and executing the editorial strategies of Lightwave and Broadband Technology Report across their websites, email newsletters, events, and other information products.

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