16925 York Road, Suite C
Monkton, MD 21111
Q: Please tell us about your company history. When was it founded? How has the company evolved since its founding? Have your services changed? Are there key milestones in your company’s history and growth that you can highlight?
Before FTS Fiber, there was Freedom Telecom Services, LLC, a premium quality carrier-level voice, video, and data network construction, expansion, and turnkey installation company. They offered design, construction, and installation of cables, switch gear, routers, and connectivity hardware for customers on an international basis. But in 2013, a different opportunity arose; Verizon Wireless released a Request for Proposal seeking a bid for fiber optic cables to be installed for small cell backhaul in rural Pennsylvania. In October 2013, Freedom Telecom Services, LLC went on to win the bid and built 80 miles of aerial fiber by December 2013.
After Freedom Telecom Services, LLC finished the Verizon Wireless fiber build, the executive team quickly recognized that dark fiber would become a necessity as bandwidth demand continued to grow. They would not be content with just managing the services side of IT infrastructure, they wanted to expand.
Two years later, a couple of telecom industry veterans formalized an agreement, incorporated as a REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) and created Freedom Telecom Services, Inc. Suitably, the company was formed a week before one of the largest international telecommunications conferences held in Chicago, IL. Freedom Telecom Services, Inc. attended International Telecoms Week and eagerly shared their diverse dark fiber route from Ashburn, Va. to 1275K Street in downtown Washington, DC with many potential customers.
As interest continued to grow, Freedom Telecom Services, Inc. thought they needed a name that distinguished itself from the services side, Freedom Telecom Services, LLC. The company rebranded to FTS Fiber in January 2016.
Q: Please tell us about company’s top executives and the work that they are doing in our industry.
- Brett Hill is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of FTS Fiber. Prior to founding FTS Fiber, Mr. Hill served as COO of a highly competitive telecom company where he oversaw the construction, testing and turn-up of a 280-mile network through the Baltimore metropolitan area, from initial construction at start-up, to ownership transfer of $30MM asset. Mr. Hill has spent his entire career working with leading edge technologies, forming best practices for deployment. From the early days of VoIP to LTE technologies on US and Caribbean cell networks, Mr. Hill has been an innovator of service strategies. Today, Mr. Hill is focusing on the growing bandwidth demands, and creating the fiber infrastructure necessary to support the needs of neighborhoods, schools and businesses.
- Adam Noll is CCO (Chief Commercial Officer) and a founding member of FTS Fiber. He joins the company with 25 years of telecom experience. Prior to joining FTS Fiber, he held various management roles with major companies, both large and small within the industry. He comes from a diverse background with experience in physical infrastructure, network equipment, manufacturing and support, as well as carrier operations. In this new role, Mr. Noll oversees marketing, product management, business development and sales, leading the company’s combined efforts to accelerate revenue growth and ensuring the integrated commercial success of the company’s dark fiber networks.
- George Tully - VP, Carrier/International joined FTS Fiber in December 2015 and is a veteran of 25 years in the Telecommunications industry. After working with Sprint in a variety of executive positions, he joined UUNET and managed the Latin America/Caribbean regions offering the UUNET suite of services for a full decade. He then joined the Carlyle Group and was responsible for opening the Miami Exchange Data Center and offering colocation services for CRGWest facilities including 1275 K Street in Washington, DC. He has worked with a variety of dark fiber and data center providers in sales management to support customers’ specific requirements.
- Sue Hageman – VP, Sales joined FTS Fiber in March 2016 and is a veteran of over 25 years in the Telecommunications industry. Sue will take an active Sales focus in expanding the client base, building penetration thus growing the revenue for FTS Fiber. Her career with facility based carriers started in 1993 with MFS. She then went to the startup carrier of Looking Glass Networks where she sold some of the largest dark fiber networks for the company. After the acquisition by Level 3, she went to FiberGate where her tenure had the largest impact for a small regional dark fiber provider. She grew the network from approximately 270-route miles to over 700-route mile, and grew the on-net building list from 135-building to over 340-buildings. She diversified the account base of a government focused company to include a balance of carriers, large enterprise companies, all while continuing to expand the government footprint and growing annual revenue. More recently she was the VP Mid Atlantic and Government Markets for FiberLight.
- Tony Mack – VP, Engineering has 25 years of experience as an Engineer and Construction Executive in the Telecommunications industry. Mr. Mack offers expertise in licensing, design, construction, permitting and asset management of telecommunications networks. Prior to joining FTS Fiber as a founding member, Mr. Mack served as Vice President of Fiber Implementation with a leading fiber-optic provider where he established a new division to build fiber-optic metro rings servicing the commercial and government markets in MD/DC/VA. He also secured right of ways and access agreements with the Highway Administrations, major corporations and several MD counties.
Q: Explain your geographic reach. Where do you provide services?
We provide carrier-class network infrastructure in both rural areas and major markets of the United States. Currently, we are focusing on the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S.
Q: What types of services do you offer your customers?
We are a wholesale dark fiber provider.
Q: What is your target customer base? Please include names of prominent customers and case study details.
We produce reliable and secure, neutral fiber paths for various network operators and business sectors, including content and internet providers, healthcare, education, government and real estate developers.
We just won a bid to build a 110-mile dark fiber network for Kent County in the state of MD. See case study in a separate document.
Q: How is technology/new products and services impacting your business model?
As IoT continues to grow, and with the new FCC standards for broadband continuing to increase, we see long-term demand for dark fiber networks. Now more than ever, businesses are relying on big data to leverage marketing efforts and increase profits. According to a Baseline study, the average Fortune 100 company can see over $65 million in additional income with just a 10% increase in data accessibility. It’s no secret that high speed, secure data transfer is a must in today’s market, which is what FTS can provide with our dark fiber networks. We will build a low latency, cost-effective solution that allows for nearly unlimited bandwidth with minimal risk and customizable options.
Broadband connectivity is a key selling point in today’s real estate market, with 1 in 10 prospective buyers turning down a sale because of poor Internet access. Installing dark fiber will increase property value and attract new potential buyers. Dark fiber can lead to unlimited opportunities for small towns and rural areas across the United States. Increased broadband and higher connectivity speeds encourage economic development, new business growth and job creation. Bringing fiber to communities also allows easier access to healthcare and services, leading to a better quality of life for local residents.
Every minute, 1.3 million pieces of content are shared on Facebook, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube, and over 400,000 tweets are sent. With virtually unlimited bandwidth, a dark fiber solution will help distribute and store high quality content for users at faster speeds.
When looking at Healthcare, with nearly 85% of physicians using electronic health records, there is an increased demand for hospitals to have the capability to store and transfer large amounts of medical data. Dark fiber allows hospitals to keep up with constantly evolving technology and improve communication both internally and externally, ultimately resulting in better patient care. With dark fiber, they can rely on a secure network for confidential medical information and get accurate results in the hands of patients faster than before.
Lastly, whether it’s at the local, state or federal level, governments need access to high speed broadband networks and the capability to transfer data securely. With dark fiber, cities and towns city will benefit from quicker emergency response times, more efficient alert systems and new technology and opportunities, thus improving the lives of their constituents.