The Lumos brand will now apply to both Lumos Networks and NorthState – the regional carrier owned by EQT Infrastructure that has been operating as a single company with two separate brands. The new company has dropped ‘Networks’ from its name and will be simply known as Lumos going forward.
The combined company has big fiber plans, targeting 1 million new homes to get fiber broadband within the next five years.
Lumos also announced a new CEO today – Brian Stading, who previously was COO for Ziply Fiber, the company that was created when Frontier spun off its local exchange carrier operations in several states to WaveDivision Capital. Stading should feel at home working for another company created when an investment firm acquired decades-old local exchange carrier (LEC) operations.
Lumos NorthState Fiber Plans
Both Lumos Networks and NorthState started out as independent local exchange carriers. EQT did a series of acquisitions in 2017, including Lumos Networks and regional fiber operator Spirit Communications, and rebranded them as Segra in 2019. EQT then added NorthState to its holdings, and later sold off the regional fiber network portion to Cox, retaining the ILEC assets Lumos Networks and NorthState.
Lumos already has fiber to more than 200,000 locations in its North Carolina and Virginia service territory, according to a press release. Both Virginia and North Carolina operations have already been adding new fiber markets.
“We believe that the infrastructure of yesterday can’t unlock the possibilities of tomorrow. The new Lumos brand represents our focus on building a 100% Fiber-optic network from the ground up—one built for the next 50 years, not the last 50,” said Stading in a press release. “Fiber is internet innovation; not only does fiber have unlimited data capacity and speed, but it’s also reliable, accessible and, most important, ready for whatever the future holds. We have a saying: ‘Why reboot the internet when you can rebuild it?’ And this is the core of Lumos. We are building the internet of the future, and I am honored to lead the charge.”
EQT Infrastructure is just one investment firm that sees big opportunity in deploying fiber broadband. Another investment firm that acquired an incumbent LEC is Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, which bought Cincinnati Bell last year. Similarly, Apollo Management plans to buy Lumen’s ILEC operations in 20 states.
Other investment firms have acquired other types of providers, such as competitive carriers, electric cooperatives and cable companies, with the same goal – to boost fiber broadband deployment.
Among those firms are Stonepeak, which bought Astound Broadband last year, and SDC Capital Partners, which bought IQ Fiber last year.