Element8 (E8), a next-generation Internet Service Provider (ISP) specializing in bridging the digital divide and providing increasingly critical broadband connections to rural communities, has secured a $200 million strategic investment from Digital Alpha, an investment firm focused on digital infrastructure, and moved to acquire Oklahoma City-based high-speed internet provider AtLink Services for an undisclosed sum.
E8 and Digital Alpha will execute a growth strategy including organic growth, strategic acquisitions, and greenfield network infrastructure expansion. E8 anticipates scaling its investment beyond $200 million in the coming years. E8’s initial platform acquisition of AtLink Services marks a major milestone on the company’s path to national expansion.
E8 was founded in 2020 by Kevin Grace, a veteran in the telecommunications industry. He and his executive team James Fair, Dustin Dvorak, Mike Field, and Jonathan Van bring decades of experience to the fractured and segmented rural broadband industry. By focusing on delivering superior customer service and an exceptional consumer experience, they intend to expand high-speed broadband internet service to millions of unserved and underserved Americans. AtLink Services, Oklahoma’s largest fixed-wireless internet service provider, is one of E8’s first platform acquisitions.
AtLink Services CEO Sam Curtis said, “The time is now for seasoned operators to meet the rural broadband needs of unserved and underserved Americans. I am excited to work with such a visionary team at E8, where together, we will deploy world-class digital infrastructure resources from Cisco, Digital Alpha, and Tarana to seize this unique moment in time in the industry.”
“We are absolutely thrilled to have the support and confidence of the Digital Alpha team behind us,” E8 President and CEO Kevin Grace said. “In addition to their financial backing, their strategic alliances with industry partners such as Cisco present an opportunity for us to build world-class network infrastructure and expand our relationships with many strategic vendors. All this gives E8 a critical edge in providing the fastest and most reliable internet available to serve the underserved. I attribute our progress and success to our incredible team.”
“The E8 team has demonstrated their expertise and ability to deliver,” said Rick Shrotri, Founder and Managing Partner, Digital Alpha Advisors. “Element 8 offers an industry-leading approach to delivering connectivity infrastructure to subscribers in rural markets across America. With Digital Alpha’s revenue share financing solution, a tested technology solution from Tarana, and a strategic partnership with Cisco, Element 8 has an opportunity to build a national, next generation network.”
Roughly one-quarter of U.S. households do not have home broadband internet connections, and rural and minority communities report even lower rates of adoption despite the increasing importance of connectivity for everyday life, according to the latest Pew Research Center data. This digital divide persists despite more than $130 billion in public and private funding available.
“There is a remarkable opportunity for service providers to cost effectively scale their footprint and strengthen their service offerings,” Vinti Batiste, Cisco’s Vice President of Sales, US Segments and Canada said. “An investment from Digital Alpha and the acquisition of AtLink, puts Element 8 in a great position to expand its reach and make an impact to bridge the digital divide in the U.S.”
E8 was founded to bring high-speed, mission critical broadband to places that lack adequate access to broadband connectivity. While technology agnostic, E8 is excited to partner with Tarana, a leading wireless platform developer that is disrupting broadband with its next-generation fixed wireless access (ngFWA) solution-Gigabit 1 (G1)-which delivers internet speeds up to a gigabit per second.
Tarana VP of Worldwide Sales Mike Calabrese said, “We are proud to play a role in E8’s mission to connect underserved communities. This funding will allow them to expand their G1 deployments, efficiently delivering high-speed broadband to more homes.”
The completion of E8’s acquisition of AtLink Services remains subject to regulatory approvals and certain other customary closing conditions.