Rural and regional operators will continue attracting investor interest and money in 2020, according to a recent report by CoBank.
This will translate into more mergers and acquisitions, as well as the ability of smaller providers to expand their operations, staff, and fiber infrastructure, the national cooperative said. CoBank, which is part of US Farm Credit System, provides loans and other financial services to coops, agribusinesses, rural utilities, as well as rural broadband operators and service providers.
Fiber pays off
This year, M&A activity was steady. Examples include:
Midwestern Bluebird Networks inked a purchase agreement in December to acquire Illinois Network Alliance, only months after Bluebird itself was purchased by investment group Macquarie Infrastructure Partners .
Also this month, fiber-network consolidation firm Segra -- which targets the South and MidAtlantic -- acquired NorthSouth Communications, which serves parts of North Carolina, including the Piedmont area, to expand its fiber footprint.
Private equity firm GTCR used its portfolio company Mega Broadband Investments to buy Vyve Broadband, which has headquarters in Oklahoma.
Everstream in October said it would purchase a 200-plus-mile Indianapolis-based fiber network and CLEC operation from DataBank, which it had acquired from LightBound.
And, when Vast Broadband acquired regional broadband fiber provider NTS Communications, Vast added NTS's more than 2,700 miles of fiber to its existing footprint.
"Rural and regional telecommunications operators will become targets in 2020 for investors and strategic buyers as the pool of available mid-sized fiber transport companies dries up," CoBank wrote.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.