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FirstLight plans to ac-

quire FTLG in a move that

will merge FLTG’s privately

owned fiber-optic network,

which spans nearly 2,500

route miles in New York

State and Pennsylvania,

with FirstLight’s more than 9,500 route

mile fiber network. FirstLight recently

announced similar transactions with

Oxford Networks and Sovernet Com-

munications as well, and the resulting

total combined company will have a

portfolio of data, internet, data center,

cloud and voice services, backed by

locally based service and support, de-

livered across almost 15,000 miles of

network fiber in seven different states.

Its head count will swell as well, to to-

tal around 450 employees.

“For over a century, FLTG has

built solid, long-standing relationships

with its customers by consistently of-

fering its expertise, responsiveness,

flexibility and innovation,” said FLTG

president and CEO Paul H. Griswold.

“By combining operations with First-

Light, we are starting an exciting new

chapter in the FLTG story.”

The acquisition also will include

FLTG’s Cisco-based managed ser-

vices, which will become available

across the combined company’s foot-

print, thus expanding the opportuni-

ties for channel partners to combine

transport and managed services

together. The company will offer a

range of offerings in this department

– including hosted voice, routing

and switching, wireless and video

(via Cisco Spark) – all delivered

from its two NOCs, in Boston and

Rochester, N.Y. The company

also is teeing up a managed se-

curity offering.

“As a technology provider, value

added reseller and Cisco Premier

Certified Partner, our company has

taken much pride in developing cus-

tom communications and data net-

working solutions to meet customers’

specific business needs,” Griswold

said. “This acquisition expands the

footprint for our Cisco services and

hosted phone products, which part-

ners can combine with the local loop,

all from one company. Also, we’re

not reselling anyone’s service or

package because we develop these

ourselves in-house with our team of

Cisco engineers.”

For FirstLight’s part, the company

is equally bullish.

“Together we can bring more to

the table,” said Jessica Nava, FLTG’s

director of business development.

“We have a lot of synergy and

work with a lot of the same channel

partners, but together we can offer

them more to sell,” continued Nava.

“Before, we only offered our fiber

network and services, but now we

can offer the Cisco side. For partners

serving many of our customers, es-

pecially in the fast-growing university

and healthcare markets, the opportu-




Finger Lakes

Positioned for Future

with FirstLight Deal

nity to get into services will dramatically

change their value proposition.”

Channel partners will continue to earn

recurring revenue, and Griswold said that

the opportunities are moving upstream.

“We are doing more and more in

financial services, universities, the hospi-

tal space and in telemedicine, where they

need reliable bandwidth backed by ser-

vice level agreements,” he said. “Lately,

there’s been a much larger enterprise

focus, and selling, say, a 15,000-seat

phone system, is not uncommon now.

We’re also attracting great expertise –

we recently hired a new senior director of

Cisco solutions, who was at Cisco for 17

years but decided to come to us because

of the growth opportunities.”

Once the deal closes, sometime

between late August and early October,

the integration will begin. The company

expects to retain all of its employees

– though those workers may be rede-

ployed to new areas or groups – because

it will set about growing its portfolio of

services even further.

“It’s too early to understand where

everyone will be positioned since we can’t

start to migrate until the closure of the

deal,” said Griswold. “However, integra-

tion should be quick. We have network

engineers all over the place, and we’ll be

combining all forces, including those re-

tained from Oxford and Sovernet.”

Nava noted that the combined

company will maintain its penchant for

high-touch customer service and partner

support. The cornerstone of how the

company serves its customers is being

involved in the community, with local

sales and local support. As the company

gets bigger, it is taking steps to ensure

that it continues to maintain that local

presence, which is a big differentiation

point against some of the larger players

in the market.

“Yes, this is a merger and yes we’ll

be bigger, but nowhere near the size of

some others,” she said. “It’s important to

us to maintain our personal touch, our

family feel and community-oriented cor-

porate culture.”



inger Lakes Technologies Group (FLTG),

which serves business customers in New York

and Pennsylvania through its fiber network,

is about to supercharge its market position

and the opportunities for its channel partners, thanks

to its upcoming consolidation with FirstLight Fiber.

Paul Griswold

July - August, 2017