PHOENIX–(BUSINESS WIRE)–High-speed fiber broadband service will be expanded to unserved and underserved Arizona communities as part of a new strategic investment announced today by Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P. a leading global private investment firm, in Wecom LLC, an established Arizona-based Internet Service Provider. This investment in the local company, with support from a minority investment by Simple Broadband LLC, is expected to benefit hundreds of thousands of households and businesses and create hundreds of new jobs throughout the state.
Established in Arizona over six decades ago, Wecom is a leading broadband provider that delivers fiber, telecommunications, and Internet services to residential and business customers. The company developed a fiber-to-the-home network to empower communities and connect businesses across the region.
“Hundreds of thousands of rural households and businesses in Arizona lack equal access to high-speed Internet service,” said Darren Glatt, Partner and Head of Digital Infrastructure at Searchlight. “Wecom’s long track record of providing reliable, best-in-class services to Arizona communities for more than 60 years makes it the perfect partner to help bridge the digital divide in the state. We are extremely proud to be able to work with such an established operator to bring the connectivity that rural communities need and the benefits it brings to students, small businesses, and communities overall.”
Wecom has been recognized by the State of Arizona for its efforts to improve the state’s digital infrastructure. In July 2022, Wecom was awarded a $10 million Arizona Broadband Development Grant to bring high-speed, reliable, and affordable broadband services to rural Mohave County.
“Mohave County has led the state in bringing broadband Internet to our rural residents and our partnership with Wecom is making it happen,” said Mohave County Supervisor Jean Bishop. “I am excited to see Wecom and Searchlight continue to expand here and bring fast, affordable, and reliable internet to other Arizona counties that need it.”
Wecom also received a U.S. Department of Agriculture ReConnect grant to bolster Wecom’s efforts to provide fiber services to hundreds of households on the Hualapai Nation. Aided by Searchlight, Wecom will extend its collaborative approach to public-private partnerships at the state, county, and local levels, helping the company bring best-in-class fiber Internet access to Arizona communities that for too long have been on the wrong side of the digital divide.
“Our new partnership with Searchlight will be instrumental in our mission to bring high-speed broadband access to communities throughout Arizona,” Wecom CEO Paul Fleming said. “This will benefit everyone from rural to urban residents, including Native American communities. In building a world-class broadband network, Wecom will create local jobs, purchase materials from local vendors, and work with local utility partners, all of which will help local economies across the state.”
Ajit Pai, Partner at Searchlight, also commented, “Investing in high-quality broadband infrastructure to help bridge the digital divide is a core Searchlight investment strategy. Today, Searchlight is the largest investor in residential fiber to the home in the U.S. Fiber broadband provides communities with much more than just Internet access – it gives consumers a gateway into the 21st century digital economy, enabling them to benefit from telehealth, remote education, job access, improved emergency services, and much more. With Searchlight’s backing, Wecom will bring these benefits to hundreds of thousands of households and businesses across Arizona. Searchlight’s approach has demonstrated the significant impact of public-private partnerships. We’ve seen this in Virginia, where All Points Broadband is building a robust fiber-to-the-home broadband network. We plan to continue to focus on investing in states where we can make a meaningful and positive impact, and that includes Arizona.”
About Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P.
Searchlight is a global private investment firm with approximately $12 billion in assets under management and offices in New York, London, Miami and Toronto. Searchlight seeks to invest in businesses where its long-term capital and strategic support accelerate value creation for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.searchlightcap.com.
Wecom is a leading local Arizona provider of fiber Internet service. The company’s mission is to provide homes and businesses with the fastest, most reliable Internet service throughout its rural service areas. Wecom was recently awarded the 2022 Readers’ Choice Best of Kingman award, please visit www.wecominc.com.