CONTERRA TO ACQUIRE ANOTHER TEXAS/LOUISIANA FIBER SERVICES BUSINESS

Transaction Will Strengthen Competitive Fiber Presence in the Gulf Region

Charlotte, North Carolina—August 21, 2018:  Conterra Ultra Broadband Holdings, Inc. (“Conterra Networks”) today announced the signing of an agreement to acquire Network Communications Telecom (“Network Communications”), a Longview, Texas-based regional fiber-optic-based telecommunication services business.

This transaction will expand Conterra Networks’ fiber in two of its largest operating states, Texas and Louisiana. Network Communications’ network will significantly increase the fiber density in Shreveport, Louisiana and East Texas and add last-mile and regional transport access to thousands of enterprise businesses in the region.  The acquisition is expected to close August 31, 2018 and is complementary to the recently completed acquisitions of Network USA and Detel that also provide fiber-based services to Louisiana and East Texas.

“As Conterra continues to strengthen its ability to serve large multi-site customers with fiber-based services, this is another important acquisition as it expands our fiber networks to adjacent communities and deepens our coverage in the East Texas and Louisiana region.  Network Communications possesses a highly talented team of telecommunication professionals focused on providing business customers with exceptional services from a competent team who live and work in the communities they serve.  In addition to their leading-edge fiber network, they bring an evolved set of efficient processes, a broad set of products and important systems to serve the enterprise segment” commented Craig Gunderson, Conterra’s President and Chief Operating Officer.

Across its purpose-built fiber networks, Network Communications delivers a broad suite of voice and data services. It has distinguished itself as a customer-focused organization during its almost 30 years of operation.

Network Communications’ President and CEO, Tony Cason, noted: “In the markets we serve, Network Communications is uniquely known for providing personal service by industry experts that are highly responsive to our customers and heavily involved in the local community.  Our commitment is to preserve this hard-earned reputation and continue to grow our capabilities to our customers.  This combination supports this commitment as Conterra shares a passion for customer service excellence and giving back to the communities they serve.”

Conterra Networks is one of the largest remaining independent broadband infrastructure companies in the United States based on its fiber assets and revenues. The company is majority owned by Court Square Capital, a private equity firm with approximately $6 billion of assets under management, with the remaining ownership largely held by Conterra Networks’ management team. The company’s other institutional financial partners include Toronto Dominion Securities, CoBank, Bank of America, ING Capital, Fifth Third Bank, Regions Bank, and Webster Bank. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, and the transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions.

NEW NETWORK, 100X FASTER INTERNET SPEEDS PLANNED FOR PICKENS COUNTY SCHOOLS

Pickens County schools are looking at internet service that is up to 100 times faster, thanks to a partnership between the school district and Conterra Networks. The School District of Pickens County has entered into a multi-year agreement with Conterra Networks to deploy an all fiber optical network to support the data, video, and voice requirements of its schools.

“We are thrilled we are able to give our students a network that is up to 100 times faster than our existing network without spending additional dollars,” said Dr. Danny Merck, SDPC Superintendent. “By rethinking how we spend existing funds and taking advantage of E-rate, we are bringing money Pickens’ residents pay in their phone bills back to the county’s students.”

In technical terms, the fiber optical network will provide 10-gigabit connectivity to each SDPC location when completed and is scalable to 100 gigabits with no additional construction. Conterra monitors, manages, and supports its networks on a 24x7x365 basis and guarantees network performance and reliability. Currently, the district has 100 megabits at most elementary schools, 500 megabits at most middle schools, and 1 gigabit at most high schools.

The network is set for completion in the summer of 2019.

The project is funded in large part by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) E-rate program through telephone fees. The primary goal of E-rate is to ensure affordable access to high- speed broadband in schools and libraries. The remaining funds will come from existing district dollars. According to Merck, the district is allocating money spent on the existing network toward this project.

According to Dr. Barbara Nesbitt, the Executive Director of Technology for SDPC, “Emerging educational and video applications are increasingly moving to cloud-based environments. With our  one-to-one Tech It Home initiative and other innovative practices like project-based and personalized learning, it is critical we provide our teachers and students with a high-speed, secure, and reliable network.”  There are many immediate benefits to increased bandwidth.  Andy Coleman, Director of Technology Services for SDPC, noted, “With the new network, we will be able to administer state-mandated tests in one week instead of spreading testing out over several weeks.  This means all students will have more instructional days prior to testing, not just those who are lucky enough to be scheduled at the end of the testing window.”

Ray Farley, executive director of Alliance Pickens, is also pleased with the infrastructure advantage this fiber brings to Pickens County. “Conterra Networks is building over 100 miles of fiber in the county. While the fiber network will primarily serve the county’s schools, local businesses can also benefit from the new fiber optical network.” Conterra’s EVP Van Snowdon notes, “We continue to offer school districts aggressive network solutions at affordable rates, while bringing fiber to rural areas that traditionally cannot access high-speed broadband for local business needs.”

The district worked with Polly and Ed Gifford of Education Partners Solution, Inc. to design and procure the fiber network. Education Partners Solution, Inc. is a technology consulting firm specializing in K–12 infrastructure design. “We’ve worked with schools in states like Texas for over 20 years to construct and lease fiber for wide area network and Internet connectivity such as the one Pickens is building. The availability of high capacity Internet has increased and cost of services in the entire state has dropped dramatically. We’re excited that Pickens is leading the way to competitive fiber and Internet pricing for their area and as a model for other schools in South Carolina,” says Polly Gifford, owner and principal consultant.

About Conterra Networks

Conterra Networks is a national provider of managed fiber-based, carrier-grade telecommunications solutions for schools, healthcare providers, telecom carriers, municipalities and enterprises that require bandwidth intensive, network connectivity and Internet services. Conterra Networks, and its subsidiaries, currently provide these services to over 3,000 locations throughout the United States. For more information about Conterra, visit www.Conterra.com or call 877-365-6701.

About Education Partner Services, Inc.

Education Partners Solution (EPS) was founded in 1996 with the goal of providing vendor independent technology consulting and technology architectural services; strategic and tactical systems planning based on technology alignment with K-12 district goals; E-Rate planning, procurement filing and support; and technical project procurement with contract fulfillment and quality assurance management. For more information about EPS, visit www.eps4.com/about.