Consolidated weighs $200M more in asset sales to speed fiber growth

Consolidated Communications has already announced over $600 million in divestitures thus far in 2022, but is looking to trade even more non-core assets for cash to fuel its ongoing Fidium Fiber expansion. During the operator’s Q3 2022 earnings call, CEO Bob Udell said there’s another $200 million worth of assets that it believes could present opportunities for divestiture.

The company’s biggest deal so far this year was the sale of its wireless assets to Verizon for $490 million. But it also divested assets in Ohio and Kansas for a combined $119 million and in Q3 sold certain tower assets for $19.4 million.

According to CFO Steve Childers, Consolidated is continuing to review its portfolio for additional opportunities. Its assessments examine the economics of fiber build opportunities, market level competition and potential valuations, he said.

Udell added “we’re in conversations always with some parties that have interest” but it doesn’t yet have anything new to announce.

Besides asset sales, Udell noted it has also identified approximately $170 million in broadband grant and public-private partnership opportunities to boost its build.

The operator is working to reach a total of 2 million fiber passings by the end of 2025, including 400,000 new locations by the end of 2022. In Q3, it added 116,000 new passings, ending the quarter with a total of 947,974.

Last year, Consolidated touted its ability to deliver fiber at a low cost compared to competitors, citing a $450 to $500 cost per passing. During the Q3 2022 earnings call, executives acknowledged that the cost per passing has risen to $600 to $650, primarily due to rising labor costs and the price of specialty equipment, such as diamond bit blades for directional boring. But Udell indicated Consolidated doesn’t feel the bump will have a significant impact on return on investment.


Fiber net additions of 12,100 more than offset DSL losses, leaving Consolidated with 699 broadband net additions – its second consecutive quarter of overall broadband gains. Executives said on the call Consolidated has put more focus into converting its DSL subscribers to fiber and expects those efforts to bear fruit in the coming quarters. But in Q3, DSL losses of around 10,900 were primarily attributed to higher move activity as well as competition from cable operators.

Overall revenue fell nearly 7% year on year to $296.6 million, but the company swung from a net loss of $4.5 million in the year-ago quarter to a profit of $292.7 million.