As seen in the October 15, 2013 COMPTEL Connection
Headquarters Location: Albany, NY
Q: What does your company do and how long has it been in operation?
A: FirstLight, formerly Tech Valley Communications, began providing services in 1994, offering carrier-grade data, Internet, colocation and voice services over its proprietary fiber network to business and carrier customers in the upstate New York and Northern New England markets. Throughout the years, the company has grown both strategically and organically. In 2011, the company acquired segTel, adding network throughout northern New England with a dense fiber footprint in New Hampshire. Then in 2013, the company acquired substantially all of the assets of TelJet, adding a dense metro fiber network in Vermont and creating connectivity to Boston, New York and Canada.
Q: To what do you attribute your company’s success in the communications industry?
A: While there are many factors that have led to the success of the company – such as award-winning customer service, a seasoned management team and disciplined fiscal management – the evolution of the company from a reseller to a deep fiber facilities-based company has had the most significant impact on the company’s success.
Q: What have been the biggest obstacles your company has faced in the marketplace?
A: The pursuit of the business customer by the MSOs (cable companies) has been challenging for many CLECs, particularly those without their own facilities. Because of our deep fiber network and decades of experience providing services to business and carrier customers, we have been able to compete effectively against the MSOs. But the competition between MSOs and CLECs is likely to heat up as the MSOs hit saturation of the residential cable TV market.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenges going forward?
A: Continuing top line revenue growth and the high gross margins we enjoy in an increasingly competitive marketplace, while simultaneously expanding our network throughout the regions we serve.
Q: What have been some of your company’s most recent achievements (new customer wins, new service/product deployment, etc.)?
A: 2013 has been a very productive year for FirstLight, building on many years of success. This year alone, we announced the completion of the acquisition of TelJet’s assets, we rebranded the company to FirstLight (formerly Tech Valley Communications) and we added seasoned management to our team. And, we have completed Ethernet certification with all of the major U.S.-based wireless carriers, setting the stage for continued growth.
Q: Why is it important for your company to be a COMPTEL member?
A: Aside from the networking and business development opportunities, the competitive industry needs an effective voice representing it before the policymakers and regulators in Washington. COMPTEL provides a company of our size access and insight into what is going on the policy and regulatory front that we would not otherwise have.