Fiber Networks Go on the Block

A decade ago, dozens of companies rushed to build fiber-optic networks, envisioning a new era of high-speed telecommunications. They overbuilt, triggering a string of bankruptcies and wasting billions.

Now, amid a surge in broadband Internet use, demand is finally catching up with supply. At least three privately owned operators of fiber-optic networks have put themselves on the block in recent weeks, hoping to fetch hefty prices.

Those companies, according to people familiar with the matter, are KDL Inc., of Evansville, Ind., a provider of fiber networks in 26 states; Houston-based Alpheus Communications, which builds and manages the fiber backbone that links major cities in Texas; and Fibertech Networks LLC, which leases fiber networks to banks, colleges and hospitals in the eastern U.S.

All three have hired investment bankers, and are hoping to attract bids that value them at around 10 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, people familiar with the matter said.

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