LS Networks, a network provider in the Pacific Northwest, hired new muscle to guide the company through its next phase of growth, tapping experienced telecom executive Randy Brogle as its new CEO. In an interview with Fierce, Brogle said his plans for the company include an expansion beyond its traditional wholesale business to capture opportunities in the commercial and enterprise market.
Brogle brings a wealth of experience to his new role. He most recently spent three years working for Meta’s Fiber Infrastructure Solutions Unit, which has been building long-haul fiber routes to connect its data centers in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina and leasing out excess capacity to ISPs. Prior to that, he served as VP and GM for Hargray Communications’ fiber division and held various leadership positions at Zayo and Level 3 Communications.
The CEO told Fierce he was drawn to the role at LS Networks due to several factors, including the location of the company, its recent acquisition by private equity group Instar Asset Management and the company’s mission.
“As I’ve moved through my career, I’ve become more and more passionate about making sure people have access to internet, and especially in rural areas and communities,” he said.
Founded in 2005 by a group of electrical cooperatives, LS Networks has long focused on serving rural and underserved areas of the Pacific Northwest. It currently has around 7,000 route miles of fiber stretching from Washington State to northern California. While it’s not necessarily looking to expand beyond its current territories, it is looking to reach deeper into the communities it already serves.
The company has historically focused on providing wholesale services, including 10 GB, 100 GB, Wavelength and Carrier Ethernet for ISPs and mobile backhaul. It’s already expanded to serve large enterprises, but now Brogle said it’s looking to leverage its network to serve more commercial, education, government, healthcare and retail entities.
“Many of these communities don’t have any fiber-based providers, so on one level you could say there’s limited competition. But for the most part it’s going to be the incumbent phone company, the LEC, and/or the cable company that has the franchise in those areas,” he explained of the competitive landscape. “We’re really focused on how to really bring meaningful improvement in the internet services, speeds and reliability, in these communities through our fiber network.”
In order to execute on its plan, Brogle said LS Networks will focus on two things: people and plant. The latter will include building out the communities it passes to give businesses an on-ramp to the internet. The former, meanwhile, consists of growing its headcount and leadership team, a project which is already well underway. Brogle said almost 35% of LS Networks’ employees started with the company in the current year. That includes several new executives.
Back in February, LS Networks hired a new VP of Commercial Sales and VP of Strategic Sales. Strider Denison, who was appointed to the commercial sales role, has previous experience working for Windstream and Comcast Business. Mark Meyers, who snagged the strategic sales position, has a background working for Zayo, Comcast and Centurylink.