Two Michigan broadband providers — Peninsula Fiber and Winn Telephone Company — are seeking to merge. 

Local media outlets reported the plans in January. Upper Michigan Source, the website of Negaunee-based NBC affiliate TV 6, said that the combined company will have more than 6,000 miles of infrastructure in three states.

“With the combination of the two networks, the PFN/WINN network will cover the majority of municipalities in the Upper Peninsula, border counties in Wisconsin, and most of the Lower Peninsula, except for the counties that border Indiana,” said Rural Innovation Exchange.

“The fiberoptic networks also will help first responders stay in communication with local hospitals and maintains 9-1-1 services, so the merger will provide services for both private and public services enterprises.”

As a recent FCC filing notes, Peninsula Fiber provides a variety of services in rural areas of the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula. It is half owned by Baraga Telephone Company, a Michigan company. 

Just today, NTIA announced that Peninsula Fiber had won a Middle Mile network funding award for $87.5 million for a middle mile network in the state.

Winn Telephone Company provides a variety of residential and business serves in rural areas of 67 exchanges in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. PFN, the FCC filing notes.

The FCC said it is inclined to approve the transfer of control of Winn Telephone Company to Peninsula Fiber but is seeking comment on that plan. According to an FCC public notice comments are due by June 28 and reply comments by July 5.

Another recent M&A deal that involved two providers operating in Michigan involved MetroNet and CTS. The deal was completed in September, 2021. CTS served the southwest communities of  Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, Portage, Texas Township and Climax. MetroNet said it would invest more than $100 million to expand the network.

Updated to note Peninsula Fiber’s middle mile funding award

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