ChannelVision Magazine

The facilities-based, Tier II operator now serves 15,000 customers over a network that spans 14,000 route miles and six states including Montreal. 2017 was a big year for FirstLight, as the company acquired Oxford Net- works, Sovernet Communications, 186 Communications and Finger Lakes Technologies Group. After successfully rebrand- ing these assets under the FirstLight name, the company is laser-focused and on pace to exceed last year’s growth. To reach its goals, FirstLight is actively look- ing to partner with local, high-quality agents who are based in the Northeast. This is currently an underserved market, as several providers in the area still lack agent pro- grams, said company executives. “Right now is a great time to partner with FirstLight,” explained Maura Ma- honey, vice president of marketing and product. “We are still early enough in our growth phase where we can advance our channel program, while some of our competitors are unable to do so. At the same time, we are far enough along as a company to ensure our services re- main stable and consistent.” To that point, FirstLight offers more than 8,000 on-net locations and an ad- ditional 25,000 addressable locations. FirstLight also has 12 data center and colocation facilities, with five in New Hampshire, three in Maine, two in up- state New York and two in Vermont. Altogether, the company has more than 130,000 square feet of data center and colocation space. All of its facilities are supported by network operations cen- ters, for 24x7 monitoring. Patrick Coughlin, executive vice president and chief revenue cfficer, commented on FirstLight’s extensive fiber network. “It’s a state-of-the-art network,” explained Coughlin. “This network is mostly new and features a cutting-edge transport layer over an IP core. Most of our hardware is less than three years old and enables ultra-low latency for our customers.” Coughlin also spoke to the compa- ny’s unique fiber delivery strategy. “We tend to be nimble, and think out- side of the box,” Coughlin said. “We also have a lot of fiber, and a lot of unique right of ways. With these assets, we can pro- vide better diversity for our customers and help them avoid local access charges. We are using our own fiber and going into buildings through our own entrances, us- ing our own facilities. This helps us com- pete against larger competitors.” The network, and the company, that you see today has been trans- forming and adapting for almost two decades. The journey started back in 1999 when Tech Valley Communica- tions (TVC) was formed. TVC acquired GFC Communications in 2000, before merging with Mid-Hudson Communications in 2002. TVC was then acquired by Riverside Partners in 2010, and the following year the company ac- quired segTEL. In 2013, TVC acquired TelJet and re-branded to FirstLight Fiber before purchasing G4 Commu- nications. FirstLight was then acquired by Oak Hill Capital Partners, and is currently in the process of being transferred to Antin Infrastructure Partners. This deal is pending approval and is expected to close at some point during the third quarter of this year. This acquisition should come as welcome news to channel partners, as it will deepen FirstLight’s pockets while keeping its leadership team intact. FirstLight, it should be noted, offers a variety of services including Ethernet, wavelength, time-division multiplexing (TDM), internet access, backup and disaster recovery, virtual desktop infra- structure, advanced cloud, voice, cloud communication and collaboration, dark and lit fiber services. The company also specializes in managed product solu- tions, network engineering, network monitoring and IT hardware. o FirstLight Looks toAdd Local Talent, Drive Further Growth F irstLight has emerged as one of the largest and fastest-growing fiber providers in the Northeast. FirstLight Network Map channel management Channel Vision | March - April, 2018 60