Earlier this week, tower operator Crown Castle International announced the purchase of Lightower Fiber Networks in a $7.1B deal. The acquisition will double Crown Castle's fiber footprint across the U.S. Northeast, especially in urban areas, and enhances Crown Castle's position as largest provider of shared wireless infrastructure in the U.S. with approximately 40,000 towers, 50,000 small cell nodes on air or under development and 60,000 route miles of fiber in the U.S. This footprint will cover 23 of the top 25 most populous markets in the United States.
“We are excited about the addition of Lightower given its attractive fiber footprint and the value we believe it will create for our shareholders,” stated Jay Brown, Crown Castle’s Chief Executive Officer in a press release announcing the deal. “Lightower’s dense fiber footprint is well-located in top metro markets in the Northeast and is well-positioned to facilitate small cell deployments by our customers. Following the Transaction, we will have approximately 60,000 route miles of fiber with a presence in all of the top 10 and 23 of the top 25 metro markets.”
This move significantly increases opportunities for small cell network deployments in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia while reducing the time and capital required for such deployments. Small-cell towers are in demand by wireless carriers to boost mobile coverage and increase capacity in urban areas.
Lightower will continue to operate as it's own entity for the foreseeable future and customers will still be contacting Lightower for internet service requests.