Archtop ramps up New York fiber takeover with WVT acquisition

Archtop Fiber will acquire Warwick Valley Telephone Co. (WVT) in New York’s Orange County, marking another success for the company’s fiber expansion plans to bridge the digital divide for underserved communities in the region. 

CEO DeMond said the deal will enable Archtop to grow its footprint throughout the lower Hudson Valley and into northern New Jersey, bringing increased speeds and access to fiber internet to more homes.  

“Philosophically, WVT also aligns with our belief in investing in and being part of local communities, and like the previous acquisitions we have announced, WVT is a valued, trusted community partner,” DeMond told Fierce Telecom. 

Founded in 1902, WVT still sits on Main Street in Warwick and has historically provided a mix of voice services, broadband services, hosted communication solutions and fiber services.  

While Archtop plans to “carry on WVT’s legacy of dedicated service and commitment to community,” DeMond said the residents and businesses in the WVT service area can expect “significant enhancements” when it comes to both speed and reliability as the company upgrades the network to 100% fiber. 

The acquisition is anticipated to close in late 2023 pending regulatory approvals. 

Archtop 'couldn’t be more ready’ to build fiber network 

This will be Archtop Fiber’s third New York acquisition in the last six months – including Hancock Telephone Co. and GTel – as the company schemes to bring state-of-the-art fiber to underserved communities in the state’s Hudson Valley, targeting a total of 500,000 XGS-PON passings in the region over the next several years. In August 2022, DeMond told Fierce the operator would both build and buy its way to that goal. 

At that time DeMond noted that Archtop had already scoped out 100,000 construction locations. Since then, the company has made “significant progress when it comes to permits and site surveys,” and will be “kicking construction into high gear in the coming weeks.” 

“Our yard is full of fiber reels, strand and hand holes — and our warehouse is stacked with CPE. We couldn’t be more ready to get this incredible network built and to fulfill our mission to expand broadband access in these communities,” DeMond added. 

Archtop is still targeting 500,000 homes, but the number of passings they will hit depends on several outside factors, including permitting, contractors and political support.  

“We’ll be updating that as we go,” DeMond said, and Archtop “isn’t quite ready to announce any additional markets just yet.” 

According to DeMond, Archtop currently has up to $350 million in private capital through its partnership with Post Road Group. But given the extraordinary amount of broadband funding authorized during the pandemic and through public partnerships, the company expects to increase this number “substantially.” 

“Which will enable us to reach even more underserved areas,” DeMond said. “We have over 16 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) signed across the Hudson Valley and dozens more in the pipeline. These MOUs signify a commitment to partner with Archtop Fiber as multiple state, federal and local programs take shape — most notably, the $1 billion New York State ConnectALL initiative.” 

In addition to serving markets in New York and Pennsylvania, Archtop has also indicated it is interested in expanding to Massachusetts.