Sunstone Provides a Comprehensive Summary of Broadband Funding Programs

Which Public Funding Opportunities Should I Be Paying Attention To? With more than $100B in total public financing opportunities available, this is an inflection point event for our industry.

This document outlines the current status of major broadband programs that have the potential for transformative change within a region as result of ongoing public support for broadband deployment aka “Needle Movers.”

Programs are grouped according to their status:
• Closed/ In award: Programs that are currently in award stage and could likely facilitate 2022 deployment
• Currently in play: Programs that are still open to application during 2022
• Forthcoming: Known major programs that have not yet opened application windows but will likely see significant activity in 2022

To Obtain a Copy of the Report, contact:

Download of the Week — The March “Needle Movers”

We are seeing updates in the broadband programs from our January update on “Needle movers”. 

As a result, we have updated our materials on Broadband Funding programs as of March 2022. If you’d like to download a copy of the free material, please use the following link: Sunstone Needlemovers

CBRE Investment Management logo

CBRE Caledon Invests in Wireless Tower Companies

Source: Inside Towers

CBRE Caledon Capital Management (CBRE Caledon) is set to acquire from American Infrastructure Funds and other shareholders, a majority equity interest in CitySwitch Tower Holdings (CitySwitch), a build-to-suit wireless tower developer and operator. CBRE Caledon, an infrastructure and private equity firm based in Toronto, Ontario, is making the investment on behalf of one of its funds and a separately managed account. CBRE Caledon is a business unit within CBRE Group’s investment management subsidiary, CBRE Global Investors.

CitySwitch has a significant tower portfolio diversified across 25 states in the eastern United States and is in 72 of the top 100 metro areas. The company specializes in railroad asset development along rail corridors with access to over 40,000 track miles of railway rights-of-way in 43 states. As is a pioneer in railroad asset development, CitySwitch delivers unique and differentiated tower locations to national and local carriers such as AT&T and Southern Linc, and railroad tenants including CSX and Norfolk Southern, along with government agencies.  

FCC filings show that CitySwitch currently has 224 sites, with 152 built and 72 granted but not constructed. The company has developed and manages over 500 towers on public and private properties. The newly constructed portfolio of operating towers has long-term anchor contracts with more than 85 years of remaining contract life. 

The company is well-positioned to expand its build-to-suit pipeline and accelerate its tower count through organic growth. “CitySwitch is poised to benefit from the unprecedented long-term growth opportunity in wireless infrastructure,” says Noi Spyratos, Head of Private Infrastructure Portfolio Management for CBRE Caledon. “The company’s unique access to rail corridors has resulted in an attractive asset base with high potential for future lease-up activity.”

CitySwitch management will retain an equity stake in the company, and the business will continue to be led by President & CEO, Rob Raville. “With American Infrastructure Funds’ strong support, CitySwitch has created one of the fastest-growing organically built wireless tower portfolios in the U.S.,” Raville says. “The CitySwitch team is very excited to partner with CBRE Caledon in our journey ahead. We look forward to building on our strong momentum of bringing highly differentiated build-to-suit and colocation solutions to our carrier customers as they expand and densify their digital networks.”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is expected to close in late September or early October 2021.

Blackstone-Backed Phoenix Tower International Signs Agreement with eir to Own and Operate Tower Sites Across Ireland

Source: Phoenix International Tower

May 25, 2020

BOCA RATON, Florida & DUBLIN, Ireland –Phoenix Tower International (“Phoenix”) today announced the signing of an agreement with eir to purchase over 650 wireless towers and acquire newly constructed wireless towers over 8 years across Ireland through a build-to-suit programme. This transaction positions Phoenix as the largest tower infrastructure provider in Ireland, materially expands its growing footprint in Europe, and further solidifies the company’s leadership position in Europe, the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Closing is subject to customary conditions precedents for this type of transaction. Phoenix and eir have established a long-term partnership whereby eir will occupy the sites for at least twenty years.

“We are excited to enter the Irish wireless infrastructure market and partner with eir on such an important transaction. The global pandemic related to COVID-19 has impacted all of our communities and highlights the importance of wireless infrastructure to support global trade, commerce and social connections. This will not diminish as economies rebound in the coming months and years ahead,” stated Dagan Kasavana, Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Tower International.

“Ireland represents an important economic hub for Europe and the world, and we are proud to support eir on their ongoing build-outs across the country. This transaction further expands PTI’s global footprint and we are excited to be a long-term partner of eir” said Tim Culver, Executive Chairman of Phoenix Tower International.

“We are excited to partner with eir to deliver improved wireless connectivity to its customers. This transaction exemplifies Phoenix’s strategy of entering into growth markets as a partner to top-tier wireless carriers” said Jasvinder Khaira, a Senior Managing Director in Blackstone Tactical Opportunities. “Phoenix is committed to growing in Europe and finding opportunities to support carriers and usher in the 5G technology revolution.”About Phoenix Tower International

Phoenix Tower International (“Phoenix”) owns, operates and proforma for this transaction will have in excess of 9,000 towers, 986 km of fiber and over 80,000 other wireless infrastructure and related sites throughout the United States, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, and Peru.

Phoenix was founded in 2013 with a mission to be a premier site provider to wireless operators across the Americas in high-growth markets. Phoenix’s investors include funds managed by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities and John Hancock, as well as various members of the management team. For more information, please visit www.phoenixintnl.com.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Arthur Cox acted as legal advisors to PTI.About eir

eir is the largest provider of fixed line telecommunications services in Ireland, offering broadband, voice, TV, and data services to residential, small business, enterprise, and government segments.

eir is the third largest mobile operator in Ireland in terms of revenue and customers. The company operates the eir mobile and GoMo services.

eir’s wholesale division, open eir, is the largest wholesale telecommunications operator in Ireland, providing products and services to national and international wholesale customers across a range of regulated and unregulated markets.

The Group generated total revenue of €1.249 billion and adjusted EBITDA of €578 million for the year ended 30 June 2019.