Fiber network consolidation continues with today’s announcement of a complementary merger between MetroNet and Vexus Fiber. MetroNet primarily operates in several Midwest and Southeast states, while Vexus has focused on Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana.
Both companies have been aggressively expanding through internal growth. MetroNet has also made several acquisitions over the past few years.
MetroNet and Vexus will continue to operate under their current brands with their current management teams.
“Vexus has a fast-growing and high customer service mentality very similar to MetroNet, and joining them allows us to quickly expand our service area to even more Americans,” said MetroNet CEO John Cinelli, in a press release.
“With this merger, we can reach even more people faster,” said Jim Gleason, President and CEO of Vexus.
Terms of the merger were not disclosed, but it should be noted that both companies are part of Oak Hill Capital’s investment portfolio. Vexus is also partly owned by Pamlico Capital. And MetroNet got a big boost in April 2021 when KKR joined Oak Hill as an investor in the company.
MetroNet provides service in more than 120 communities in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Wisconsin and Missouri. Texas is the only state in which MetroNet and Vexus operate.
Vexus was originally known as NTS Communications, which was acquired by Vast Broadband in 2019. Vast later changed the NTS name to Vexus; then in October 2020, Vast was acquired by GI Partners.
Mergers such as the one between MetroNet and Vexus are becoming quite common as competing carriers are in a kind of fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) land grab. A similar entity, now known as Astound Broadband, includes the assets of companies formerly known as RCN, Grande, Wave, enTouch and Digital West.
FTTP looks like an increasingly attractive opportunity now that consumers are demanding faster upstream speeds that can be supported by fiber broadband, but not by traditional cable infrastructure. The result is that whoever introduces FTTP first to a market has a substantial competitive advantage.
Fiber providers may also have an advantage as the broadband industry is set to receive unprecedented government funding to help support broadband deployments in rural areas.