Regions Shenandoah Valley

Merger creates fiber network from Pittsburgh to Atlanta

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Print this page by Joan Tupponce
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Timothy Biltz, the president and CEO of Lumos Networks, will head
the combined company. Photo by Mark Rhodes

Lumos Networks, a Waynesboro-based fiber network company, expects to increase its reach after combining with South Carolina-based Spirit Communications.

The combined company’s network will stretch from Pittsburgh to Atlanta. “We will be, by far, the most fiber-rich competitive provider with rapid growth in that footprint,” says Timothy G. Biltz, president and CEO of Lumos, who will serve as CEO of the combined company.

(The name of the combined firm and the location of its headquarters had not been announced when this issue went to press.)

The companies merged after EQT Infrastructure III fund acquired both of them in five months’ time. Lumos was acquired in November while Spirit, which was based in Columbia, S.C., was bought in April.

“These were adjacent markets and, when brought together, they fit extremely well,” says Jan Vesely, a partner at EQT Partners who is an investment adviser to EQT Infrastructure. “I think this combination is unique in the way it has created an independent fiber business in the region that is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.”

Lumos, which has 6,200 miles of fiber in Virginia, has invested more than $200 million in the commonwealth in the past five years. The new company will operate approximately 21,000 fiber route miles with more than 1 million total miles of fiber.

The combined network will allow it to reach more customer locations,  the company says. The merger will also increase Lumos’ lineup of products and services.

“The combination builds a super-regional fiber company that will accelerate the deployment of fiber in all of our markets, particularly in Virginia,” says Biltz.
New services to be offered in Virginia include SD-WAN (a cost-effective way to add remote locations onto a network), managed and hosted voice services, LTD backup (a wireless alternative for connectivity), a hosted firewall and co-location for disaster recovery.

“We have scheduled product rollouts in early June, another set in the third quarter and another in the fourth quarter,” Biltz says.

During the next five years, “we would expect to invest between $700 million and $800 million on new capital into our business,” he adds. “That’s almost two times the capital intensity we have been running.”

Lumos already connects to many data centers in Ashburn and is in the process of being connected to a landing site in Virginia Beach for undersea cables from Spain and Brazil.

With Lumos’ century-old ties to the Waynesboro area as a local telephone company, Biltz sees the company’s investment in Virginia accelerating. “We are a 100-year-old startup with a legacy of service and the energy of a startup,” he says.

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