Zayo to acquire edtech firm ENA

Zayo Group signed a deal to purchase Education Networks of America (ENA), an education technology firm that provides managed network connectivity and security services to E-Rate-funded school districts and other public sector entities.  A Zayo spokeswoman declined to provide the terms of the acquisition.

ENA designs and manages broadband, Wi-Fi/LAN, voice and video products primarily for K-12 schools and libraries. The company handles the networks of 15 of the largest school systems in the country.

Zayo said that the acquisition will aid in its expansion in the public sector area and also allow it to create new enhanced services that combine ENA’s products with Zayo’s fiber network.

“We are committed to expanding this business, providing enhanced services to ENA customers and supporting the ENA team as we drive growth and innovation together,” said Zayo President Andrés Irlando, in a statement.

The edtech market is growing at a healthy pace. According to Future Market Insights, at the end of 2021 it was worth $74.2 billion and it is expected to grow to be worth $288.4 billion by 2031.

Zayo Group already has some E-Rate deals with school districts. The company, which became privately held in 2020, no longer has to publicly reveal its quarterly earnings. However, in 2019 it said that  it had “dozens” of contracts with school districts and libraries to provide both dark and lit fiber connectivity.

The FCC’s E-Rate program is funded by the Universal Service Fund and provides discounts for telecom services and internet access to eligible schools and libraries. In recent years, the FCC has refocused E-Rate away from legacy telecom services to broadband with the goal of significantly expanding broadband access. For 2021 the FCC has capped the E-Rate funding at $4.276 billion.

Private equity firm ZMC invested in ENA in 2016 and will exit its position as part of this deal. Zayo said that the transaction will close when it receives regulatory approvals and closing conditions are met.

RELATED: Zayo Group buys SD-WAN firm QOS Networks

The ENA deal is Zayo’s second acquisition this year. In January Zayo acquired QOS Networks, a managed edge and SD-WAN company in Irvine, California that helps enterprises deploy, manage and monitor their SD-WAN and edge networks.