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Sidera Networks Sheds RCN Metro Name, Baggage

COMPTEL PLUS Sidera Networks, the company formerly known as RCN Metro, has been taken over by private investors and freed up to focus on an all-fiber business model, rather than worrying about what worked best for former parent, cable operator RCN Corp.

Under new owners ABRY Partners, Sidera is prepping new processes to take the company to the next level,” said Maura Mahoney, Sideras vice president of sales and marketing. Over the next six months, then, big changes are in store.

First, Sidera has shed RCN Metros “religious aversion” to selling dark fiber, said Sidera CEO Mike Sicoli. More enterprise customers particularly those in the financial sector want greater control over their networks, so Sidera is answering the call at last by selling them dark fiber. RCN Metro didnt consider dark fiber a key part of its business model. Second, Sidera is extending its network. Construction is underway in the Chicago area and at the 165 Halsey data center in Newark, N.J. The additions will result in about 100 more on-net locations. Sicoli said the strategy was planned before ABRY bought RCN Metro/Sidera, but that the equity firm validated the plan.” Next, Sidera is bidding for large projects. RCN Metro was a public company and ran into financial-regulation obstacles when outside parties would have helped pay for the initiatives.

But Sideras metamorphosis isnt just network-specific. The company has added class- and quality-of-service to its Ethernet and joined the CENX, Equinix and Neutral Tandem Ethernet exchanges. Sidera is “more aggressive” in offering Ethernet than was RCN Metro  the RCN parent held too-conservative a view about how to deploy capital, Sicoli said. Such efforts should result in a minimum of 10 percent year-over-year revenue growth, said Sicoli.

If its not in the double-digits, youre disappointed,” he added.

And some of that hoped-for increase in the bottom line could come from M&A, activity thats dominating the fiber services provider market right now. This week alone, PAETEC bought Cavalier Telephone and Lightower Networks purchased Lexent Metro Connect.  

ABRY very much views Sidera as an acquisition platform,” Sicoli said. To wit, Sidera took part in this summers round of fiber-operator auctions but didnt win this time.

We expect to be on the hunt for opportunities,” said Sicoli.

By the way, if youre wondering what Sidera” means, its Latin for constellation of stars.” Sidera says its network resembles a constellation; the logo also retains the RCN Metro star, creating a symbolic tie between the old company and the new.


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