Fiber-Optic Network Company FirstLight Acquires KINBER Network Assets

FirstLight Fiber, a provider of fiber-optic data, Internet, data center, cloud and voice services based in Albany, New York, has acquired substantially all of the KINBER’s assets including the fiber network and related customer contracts. KINBER (the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research) is a Pennsylvania-based nonprofit corporation providing broadband connectivity and promoting the innovative use of digital technologies throughout the state.

When the transaction with FirstLight is complete, KINBER will be continuing its work. KINBER provides research and education connectivity. It invests in underserved and unserved communities. And it also helps to position Pennsylvania to be a leader in broadband and broadband technology.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Post transaction, FirstLight will support KINBER’s networking needs.

“Over the past 10 years, KINBER has become the premier research and education fiber network that delivers connectivity to underserved and unserved areas of Pennsylvania,” said Nathan Flood, President and CEO of KINBER. “Through our 1,800-route mile network across 47 counties, KINBER has been able to provide the critical infrastructure to research, education and community institutions. As we look toward the next chapter, we’re excited to see the expansion and growth opportunities that FirstLight will create.”

Educational and Healthcare Institutions in the Northeast

Founded in 1999, FirstLight has been building and operating its own fiber-optic network for more than 20 years. With an expert team, FirstLight serves the networking needs of national telecommunications providers, CLECs and leading enterprises. Their clients include health care organizations, high-tech manufacturing and research facilities, financial institutions, colleges and universities, K-12 schools, public safety agencies, and local and state governments.

Patrick Coughlin
“KINBER’s fiber network throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its clientele are a perfect complement to our network and customer base,” said Patrick Coughlin, Chief Business Development Officer for FirstLight Fiber.

“KINBER’s fiber network throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and its clientele are a perfect complement to our network and customer base,” said Patrick Coughlin, Chief Business Development Officer for FirstLight Fiber. “We are honored to serve some of the most renowned educational and healthcare institutions in the Northeast, and we are confident that we can support the organizations currently leveraging KINBER’s network.”

“This is an exciting development for FirstLight, that will further propel the company’s growth. Since acquiring FirstLight two years ago, we have worked closely with the management team,” said Kevin Genieser, Senior Partner at Antin Infrastructure Partners and member of FirstLight’s Board of Directors. “We’ve enhanced the company’s capabilities both organically and strategically to the benefit of its customers, the community and its stakeholders. This acquisition is highly complementary to our recently built Eastern Pennsylvania network, that was funded during Antin Infrastructure Partners’ ownership. It is expected to have a highly positive impact on FirstLight by adding 1,800 route miles of fiber to its expansive fiber network. It will allow tens of thousands more businesses to benefit from FirstLight’s comprehensive set of services.”

RBC Capital Markets LLC served as financial advisor to KINBER in connection with this transaction. Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP served as legal counsel to FirstLight. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2020, following the satisfaction of regulatory approvals.

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