Leading tech and telecom trade publication Communications Daily recently interviewed TLP Managing Member Michael Lazarus on the impact of recent federal broadband funding on mergers and acquisitions in the broadband industry. Mike’s insight was included in an October 7, 2022 article “BEAD Seen Accelerating ISP M&A,” and relevant excerpts are included below:
The unprecedented scale of available government funding for broadband means increased merger and venture capital activity, said Mike Lazarus of Telecommunications Law Professionals. He said deal activity is in relatively early stages and is likely to pick up in coming months. He said there will likely be a couple of years of elevated activity, before BEAD checks actually start being cut to ISPs.
One possible complication for any possible deals involving ISPs is the conditions on BEAD money, such as requiring recipients to offer a middle-class affordable program or preferring use of union labor, TLP’s Lazarus said. “It’s certainly not free money,” he said. The federal infusion of money also will change ISPs’ business models and bring about new ones, which necessitates new ways of evaluating possible deals, he said. He said the details in NTIA approvals of state BEAD plans could influence any deal activity.