Fiber connectivity to U.S. businesses continues to grow, driven by the demand for high-speed connectivity to the Internet, cloud services, off-premise data centers, and other services. As a result, the U.S. “Fiber Gap” – representing those commercial buildings still without fiber access – has dipped below 50 percent for the first time, according to Vertical Systems.
Fiber continues to increase in value as a strategic asset, driving much of the M&A activity in the industry. That includes the latest merger agreement between ZenFi Networks and Cross River Fiber. Together, the companies will represent the leading communications infrastructure provider in the New York-New Jersey metro region, including more than 700 route miles of fiber optic network, 130 on-net buildings, 49 colocation facilities and 1,700 outdoor wireless locations with more than 3,000 under contract.
“The merger of ZenFi Networks and Cross River Fiber allows us to scale our communications infrastructure portfolio across the region, providing a robust fiber and colocation platform enabling the deployment of a wide range of digital services by mobile network operators, telecommunications service providers and large enterprises,” said Ray LaChance, CEO of ZenFi Networks. “The combination enhances our network reach, deepens our product portfolio, and delivers a next generation network infrastructure that is the foundation of tomorrow’s communications networks. In addition, our partnership with Ridgemont Equity Partners further strengthens ZenFi Network’s financial position by providing access to additional capital to continue to deliver on our vision of building the most pervasive and high capacity connectivity platform in the region.”
Founded in 2014 by Ray LaChance, Victoria (O’Kane) Lamberth, Hugh R. O’Kane, John O’Kane and Alex O’Kane, ZenFi Networks provides fronthaul and backhaul fiber, colocation, and right of way siting to mobile operators, telecom providers, and large enterprises. Since 2011, Cross River Fiber has delivered high-speed low-latency connectivity between data centers, carrier hotels, financial exchanges, and enterprise facilities. This merger combines two complementary service portfolios, allowing the combined entity to provide more services to a larger customer base.
“While both companies have achieved great success to date, as a combined business, our geographic footprint and product capabilities are greatly expanded,” commented Vincenzo Clemente, CEO of Cross River Fiber. “We can now offer custom telecommunications solutions in New York, New Jersey and beyond to more wireless mobility, carrier and enterprise customers than ever before. Our teams are cut from the same cloth – we’re both builders and owners of purpose-built fiber optic networks and wireless infrastructure – and together we will provide that cutting-edge network architecture of both fiber and wireless services to an even bigger customer base.”
The new entity will be led by members of each company’s leadership, with guidance from majority stakeholder Ridgemont Equity Partners.