EarthLink said it purchased BroadAspect's fiber and fixed wireless network to upgrade its offerings across the East Coast. The move marks another expansion of the brand's telecom efforts.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

April 2, 2024

3 Min Read
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EarthLink on Tuesday said it acquired BroadAspect's fiber and fixed wireless network. The company said the deal would enhance its network operations across the East Coast.

EarthLink didn't disclose the terms of the transaction.

"We're thrilled to welcome BroadAspect to the EarthLink family," said Glenn Goad, CEO of EarthLink, in a release. "Adding BroadAspect's network as our fourth acquisition of a fixed wireless company in the last year signifies EarthLink's strategy of expansion. Together with One Ring Networks, Telegia and QX.net, our broad network allows us to deliver high-speed Internet across the nation."

EarthLink said it would take over management of BroadAspect's fiber and fixed wireless operations, but would continue the brand as a managed IT and cybersecurity firm.

The transaction represents the acceleration of a strategy EarthLink began a few years ago. In 2021, the company debuted a nationwide 4G and 5G fixed wireless service atop T-Mobile's network.

Then, starting in 2023, EarthLink began rolling up fixed wireless operators. First it acquired One Ring Networks, a fixed wireless operator across Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland and Texas (One Ring also acquired Telegia in Baltimore, Maryland, at roughly the same time). Then EarthLink purchased QX.net, another fixed wireless operator in Kentucky, earlier this year.

"Our vision at EarthLink – to create a broader network that reaches every corner of the nation – is becoming a reality," Goad, EarthLink's CEO, said in a release.

The details, and the restructuring

EarthLink-branded Internet services have been around for more than 30 years, but the company itself has gone through several iterations. Most recently, Windstream purchased EarthLink in 2016 for $673 million, ending EarthLink's tenure as a publicly traded Internet service provider.

But then Windstream sold EarthLink's consumer Internet business in 2018 to Trive Capital, a Dallas-based private equity firm, for $330 million in cash. At the time, Trive boasted that EarthLink offered Internet access, premium email, web hosting and privacy and data security products and services to over 600,000 customers throughout the US.

Then, in 2021, Trive said it recapitalized EarthLink through a new deal with Cerberus Business Finance. Trive officials cheered the move, with Managing Director Shravan Thadani saying at the time that "EarthLink's ability to attract a new lending partner into the business is a testament to the hard work of and collaborative partnership between Trive and the company's management team, who, in two short years, have carved out and turned around the business, creating an exciting growth story for employees and investors."

In that announcement, Trive said EarthLink's customer base had increased from 600,000 in 2018 to 800,000 in 2021.

According to BroadbandNow, EarthLink today offers a mix of DSL, fiber, satellite and wireless technologies to a total of almost 100 million people. In fiber, BroadbandNow said EarthLink piggybacks on AT&T's network.

On its website, EarthLink touts a variety of services, from 5 Gbit/s fiber connections to Viasat-powered satellite connections. It also offers businesses fiber Internet connections with fixed wireless backup options.

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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