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SD-WAN

Growth tops the agenda for Segra's new CEO

Kevin Hart said across-the-board growth is a top priority at regional, fiber-focused Segra as he takes over as CEO following the company's recent acquisition by Cox Communications.

Those growth activities are expected to run the gamut as Segra explores service expansions by building into adjacent areas, broadens its product mix, seeks opportunities in underserved markets and pursues synergies with Cox's business services unit.

Kevin Hart, an exec late of Level 3 and Clearwire, joined Cox in 2011. He was named CEO of Segra earlier this month.  
(Source: Cox Communications/Segra)
Kevin Hart, an exec late of Level 3 and Clearwire, joined Cox in 2011. He was named CEO of Segra earlier this month.
(Source: Cox Communications/Segra)

Hart said the plan fits well with the approach he took as CTO of Cox Communications over the past 11 years. "I've always been kind of a growth-minded, business-oriented CTO, so I think it's a perfect fit with my background and what we're trying to achieve at the company," said Hart, an exec who's also late of Level 3 Communications and Clearwire.

Hart, who succeeds the retiring Segra CEO Timothy Biltz, said he was part of the M&A due diligence team that evaluated the Segra transaction.

"It was probably one of the biggest investments the Cox family has made in Cox Communications' history. It's an important part of our portfolio. Having done the CTO role for some time, I was ready for my next career move and challenge," he said.

Segra, Swedish for "to win," is a regional commercial enterprise and carrier business that's focused on nine states in the US mid-Atlantic and Southeast. Segra was formed via the combination of Lumos Networks and Spirit Communications in 2018 and rebranded as Segra the following year.

Cox is keeping the Segra brand and operating it as a stand-alone business. EQT, Segra's seller, held onto Segra's fiber-to-the-premises residential and small and medium-sized business unit serving parts of Virginia and North Carolina.

Sizing up expansion opportunities

Breaking down Segra's growth prospects, expansion is one core element.

Segra's fiber network is focused on the US mid-Atlantic and Southeast.  

Click here for a larger version of this image.  
(Source: Segra)
Segra's fiber network is focused on the US mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Click here for a larger version of this image.
(Source: Segra)

"Part of our growth ambition is to look for opportunities in the fiber space, particularly those that are adjacent to our properties," Hart said. "There's insatiable demand for fiber and bandwidth and connectivity, so that's a big part of our plan."

Segra, which runs a carrier business and supports enterprise customers that include hospitals, schools and government entities, will also look to broaden its portfolio. Its current business services lineup includes products such as Ethernet WAN, managed Wi-Fi, SD-WAN, hosted voice, firewall protection, disaster recovery-as-a-service and data centers. Its carrier business covers areas such as data (Ethernet and fiber-to-the-cell), transport (dark fiber and wavelengths), services (small cell and in-building wireless) and mapping (fiber networks and tower coverage).

And though Segra operates as a standalone company, it will seek out ways to partner with parent company Cox. Hart sees opportunities for Cox to help Segra scale its platform and to take advantage of Cox's vendor relationships in a way that can help Segra navigate supply chain constraints that are affecting companies across the telco landscape. Cox Business has also launched an array of products in recent years that Segra can tap into without having to build them from scratch, Hart noted.

In addition, Segra will explore opportunities to branch into unserved and underserved markets. "We'll also be taking advantage of RDOF [the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund] and other investment instruments to help us continue to broaden our footprint and enable [those areas] to have connectivity," Hart said.

And while the pandemic has created some softness in the commercial services market, businesses are starting to rebound. Segra, Hart said, is seeing activity perk up in parts of Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as some companies relocate to those markets.

"We see a pretty healthy funnel of new business and new activity for fiber connectivity [and] a lot of data center growth and hyperscalers moving into the area," he said.

Segra, Hart added, is also seeing some movement on the carrier side as mobile operators and other wireless service providers densify and expand their 5G networks.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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