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Birch buys Cleartel – adds 100K lines

Atlanta-based Birch Communications (and what is it with Atlanta and phone companies, anyway?) has signed an agreement to grab nearly all the customers and network assets for Cleartel Communications.   Birch is getting around 100,000 business and residential access lines, plus a “state of the art” facilities network in Florida.

This is the seventh acquisition over the past three years and each one, says Birch, “has significantly increased customer density” in the company’s 31 state service footprint, saith the company’s press release.

Needless to say, the acquisition is going to wake up people in the Tier 2/Tier 3 space.

Skeptics will likely wonder aloud as to why Birch would buy so many landlines, given the ongoing decline in both consumer and business landline figures.  I suspect there’s some combination of economies of scale, the fact that consumer & business landlines aren’t going to zero overnight, an ability to convert business landlines from analog dialtone to broadband and SIP trunking, and some loose change with settlements in there.

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