Tillman FiberCo, LLC and private investment firm Northleaf Capital Partners today announced a strategic partnership where Northleaf is funding Tillman FiberCo with an initial investment of $200 million, with the potential to invest up to $300 million more as Tillman FiberCo scales its operations.
The new company will build and operate its own open access facilities-based fiber network to deliver broadband internet access services to residential and commercial customers.
The company’s formation is at an ideal time to take advantage of the $42.5 billion in Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) funding that is weighted for fiber optic builds to close the digital divide.
Multiple contact roads lead to Frontier and Verizon
Northleaf said that Tillman FiberCo had signed a “large anchor customer order” to sell internet services but did not disclose the service provider. It’s possible that Frontier or Verizon might be the anchor ISP.
Tillman FiberCo CEO Ken Dixon had previously served as President of Verizon FiOS. Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Compliance Carl Erhart also had roots at Verizon for over 20 years and most recently served as Vice President of Regulatory for Frontier Communications.
Mark Frazier, Vice President of Supply Chain and Vendor Management, was also at Verizon Wireless for almost 15 years, serving in his last position for six years as a regional president. He previously served as President of Essentia, Inc., a company actively engaged in underground fiber deployments, with Verizon and Frontier being two of their key clients.
Multiple other leaders and managers at Tillman FiberCo were also executives at Verizon or employed at Frontier or Essentia.
It appears that Tillman FiberCo’s early buildouts for their fiber networks will be in Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Texas, where the six Tillman FiberCo corporations are registered in Delaware. The company has received its Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licenses to operate in all states but Georgia.
Based in New York, Tillman FiberCo, which began operations in 2022 and ramped up its employee count in 2023, designs, builds, and owns high-speed internet infrastructure and aims to become a market leader in providing network access on a wholesale basis to enterprises and wholesale customers across all industries.
The new company is part of the Tillman Global Holdings portfolio, a holding company founded by Sanjiv Ahuja. “We’re delighted to partner with Tillman Global Holdings and the Tillman FiberCo management team, both of which have deep industry relationships and decades of operational expertise,” said Chris Rigobon, Managing Director at Northleaf.
“Tillman FiberCo’s wholesale business model, supported by a large anchor customer order, ensures the long-term revenue stability that our investors look for in our infrastructure portfolio. This investment is an excellent fit with Northleaf’s communications infrastructure strategy, providing our investors with exposure to an attractive sector while mitigating downside risk.”
“Adding the support of a global investor like Northleaf is a tremendous endorsement of our model and the market opportunity ahead of us,” said Dixon. “We’re confident that Northleaf’s infrastructure experience, sector expertise, and extensive resources will enable us to accelerate our growth, execute our business plan, and ensure the highest quality of service to our customers.”
“Tillman FiberCo is building a best-in-class fiber network to support underserved neighborhoods across the U.S.,” said Sachit Ahuja, President of Tillman Global Holdings. “We are excited to partner with Northleaf, who shares in our ambition to build a market-leading business over the long term.”