Rapidly Growing Fiber Provider Buys Plymouth Co.

The Zayo Group purchased Access Communications for $41 million, expanding its network to span more than 2,500 miles in the Twin Cities.

Bandwidth services provider Access Communications, Inc., was officially sold this week to Colorado-based international bandwidth services provider Zayo Group for $41 million.
 
The Plymouth-based bandwidth infrastructure business adds a 1,200-mile fiber network, which covers the greater Twin Cities area, to Zayo’s expansive network. The fiber network connects more than 500 buildings, including major data centers and so-called “colocation” facilities.
 
Founded in 1997 by Randy Herman and Arlyn Birkholz, Access had 23 employees when it was sold. While the business has continued to grow its network over the years, Herman and Birkholz began looking for a buyer about five months ago, reportedly because the network was becoming too large for them to handle.
 
Zayo announced its agreement to acquire Access in August but the deal was not completed until Wednesday. The transaction was funded by cash on hand. The company did not disclose if it had any employee transition plans.
 
Zayo said the acquisition brings its total dark fiber network in the Twin Cities to 2,500 miles.

Zayo first entered the Minnesota market in 2007 with the purchase of Onvoy, a Minneapolis-based telecommunications provider, to develop regional fiber networks. In 2010, it acquired additional Minnesota bandwidth with the purchase of Rochester, New York-based company American Fiber Systems.
 
Since Zayo’s inception in 2006, it has spent more than $400 million on aggressive acquisitions all across the country.

 
“Given the complementary breadth and depth of its fiber network, the Access transaction is a natural step for Zayo,” President and CEO of Zayo Group Dan Caruso said in a statement. “The acquisition is the latest in a series of major investments supporting the growth of our bandwidth infrastructure business in Minnesota.”
 
Access focuses on providing “dark fiber services” to school districts, government agencies, and metro area businesses. Dark fibers are unused optical fibers that Access leases out to customers that they then use for data communication.
 
“Integrating Access Communications and its robust fiber network will enhance our already substantial Minneapolis area network,” Caruso said in a statement. “Minnesota is an important market for us to grow our network with a large base of wireless backhaul customers, Fortune 500 enterprise headquarters, and a growing data center presence.”
 
In addition to providing fiber-based bandwidth services, Zayo provides carrier-neutral colocation and interconnection services. The company said it serves wireline and wireless carriers, data centers, Internet content and services companies, and government agencies.
 
Zayo currently has 1,130 employees and its fiber network includes 75,839 route miles, spanning 45 states as well as major cities in Europe.