Zayo, Starry, Cox cut jobs as layoff wave hits telecom

Fiber backbone provider Zayo, fixed wireless operator Starry, cable player Cox Communications and technology company Dell are among a growing number of tech and telecom companies that have begun laying off workers, though the depth of their cuts varies.

Perhaps the most dramatic news came from Starry, which revealed in its Q3 results on Thursday it is slashing its workforce in half and is freezing hiring while it works to improve its financial position and secure additional financial backing. The company currently has around 1,000 employees, meaning about 500 people will be affected by the decision.

The move comes after the company withdrew from all of its $268.9 million in Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) broadband build commitments earlier this month. At the time, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett told Fierce the RDOF builds were a luxury cash-strapped Starry couldn’t afford. More details are available here on Fierce Wireless.

Elsewhere, a smaller number of employees faced the chopping block.

Zayo President Andrés Irlando confirmed in a statement to Fierce the company let go of a “relatively small number of employees” from its Service Delivery and Product teams this month. He indicated the cuts were “part of a broader reengineering effort of these critical functions as we have brought in new leadership over the last quarter.” Indeed, in September, Zayo hired former Equinix executive Bill Long as its new Chief Product Officer. At the time, the company told Fierce Long was interested in scaling its offerings related to network observability and automation, multi-cloud and edge-to-core-to-cloud.

According to its website, Zayo has more than 3,000 employees across the globe, but it was unclear from Irlando’s statement exactly how many were impacted. “We continue to transform Zayo to drive execution excellence, improve legacy processes and systems, and improve customer and employee experience,” he concluded.

Separately, Cox Communications told Fierce this week it is “making some changes to our structure and processes and a very small percentage of employees are leaving the business.” This comes as it works to operate “as efficiently as possible” and strategically invest “in areas like mobile, managed services and network expansion and creating an improved customer experience,” a company representative said.

According to information posted on its website, Cox Communications has around 18,000 employees nationwide.

In September, Dell confirmed layoffs in an email to Fierce. The company said it engaged in a “small number of targeted job reductions” as part of a regular evaluation of its operational structure. It added “We continue to recruit for specific roles to meet the needs of the business and customers.” Its website states the company has around 133,000 employees.

Last week, Protocol reported Salesforce was laying off at least 90 employees and freezing hiring, while Axios reported earlier this week Microsoft was cutting its staff by around 1,000 people.

In Q3 results issued Thursday, AT&T noted its employee tally has dropped 4.2% year on year, or by slightly more than 7,400 people, in the first nine months of 2022. However, this doesn’t appear to be related to layoffs.

Asked about the change, an AT&T representative told Fierce “We are always evaluating our workforce based on the needs of our customers. In areas of the business that are growing, we are actively hiring thousands of jobs across the country. In legacy areas of the company that aren’t growing, we manage our staffing needs accordingly, including things like not backfilling positions for employees who leave.”