Headquarters Location: Albany, NY
Q: What does your company do and how long has it been in operation?
A: FirstLight Fiber, began providing services in 1999, offering carrier-grade data, Internet, data center and voice services over its proprietary fiber network to businesses and carrier customers in New York and Northern New England markets. Throughout the years, the company has successfully grown both strategically and organically.
Q: To what do you attribute your company’s success in the communications industry?
A: While there are many factors that have led to the company’s success – such as award-winning customer service, a seasoned management team and disciplined fiscal management – the evolution of the company from a reseller to a deep fiber facilities-based company has had the most significant impact on the company’s success.
Q: What have been the biggest obstacles your company has faced in the marketplace?
A: The pursuit of business customers by the MSOs (cable companies) has been challenging for many CLECs, particularly those without their own facilities. Because of our deep fiber network and decades of experience providing services to business and carrier customers, we have been able to compete effectively against the MSOs. But the competition between MSOs and CLECs is likely to heat up as the MSOs hit saturation of the residential cable TV market.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenges going forward?
A: Continuing our top line revenue growth and maintaining the high gross margins we enjoy in an increasingly competitive marketplace, while simultaneously expanding our network throughout the regions we serve.
Q: What have been some of your company’s most recent achievements (new customer wins, new service/product deployment, etc.)?
A: This year, we announced a market expansion further into New York, which added 36,000 fiber miles. This expansion was driven by a key customer and was purpose built to support not only that customer’s needs but to enable FirstLight to serve other businesses located along this newly built fiber route. Also this year, we announced that Oak Hill Capital Partners will acquire FirstLight as well as Oxford Networks. These acquisitions create the foundation for accelerated growth. Upon completion of both transactions, Oxford’s operations will be combined with FirstLight and FirstLight will then operate a network of approximately 400,000 fiber miles, 4,000 lit locations and 10 data centers.
Q: Why is it important for your company to be an INCOMPAS member?
A: Aside from the networking and business development opportunities, the competitive industry needs an effective voice representing it before the policymakers and regulators in Washington. INCOMPAS provides a company of our size access and insight into what is going on the policy and regulatory front that we would not otherwise have.