fiber optics array

Zayo said today that it plans to purchase Intelligent Fiber Network (IFN), a fiber network operator primarily serving Indiana that is owned by a group of independent telcos and a rural electric company.

The deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Zayo has a 126,000-mile network in North America and Europe that the company has assembled, in no small part, through acquisitions. The company offers services such as wavelengths, Ethernet and dedicated internet access to enterprise customers.

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“IFN brings to Zayo another unique and dense regional fiber network and a dedicated local team that excels in serving its customer base,” said Zayo Chief Financial Officer Matt Steinfort in a press release. “This team, the additional network assets and the nearly 1,000 incremental on-net buildings will aid our efforts to accelerate growth as we look to capitalize on the enterprise opportunity within our network reach.”

At one time Zayo was a publicly held company but went private last year through an acquisition by affiliates of Digital Colony Partners and the EQT Infrastructure IV fund.

The Zayo IFN Deal

IFN was originally known as Indiana Fiber Network but changed its name to Intelligent Fiber Network in 2018 to reflect an expanded focus beyond Indiana. In keeping with that strategy, the company last year established a connection to a major traffic exchange point in Ashburn, Virginia.

IFN Network Map (Source: IFN website)

IFN’s telco owners apparently see the sale to Zayo as a means of further increasing network investment.

“The combination of IFN and Zayo will enable significantly enhanced reach and value to our customers and our legacy owners,” said IFN CEO Jim Turner in the press release. “Together the combined companies will help drive investment and growth in Indiana’s communications infrastructure and advance the ubiquity of high-speed connectivity throughout the state.”

It’s not clear how the Zayo purchase will impact IFN’s participation in Indatel – a network of statewide fiber networks owned and operated by independent telco owners. The Zayo IFN deal also could be a bellwether of future independent telco owned statewide fiber network purchases by Zayo or another consolidator.

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One thought on “Zayo to Buy Regional Fiber Network Intelligent Fiber Network (IFN)

  1. I wonder if this will be similar to how independent telcos built up sizable DBS retail operations that they eventually sold for huge profits?

    Also, I wonder if the deal carves out bandwidth/fiber capacity to allow the telcos’ to continue to receive low-cost mid-mile access for their Internet operations?

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