Communications merger brings peninsulas together

What's happening: Two large telecommunication networks — Peninsula Fiber Network (PFN) out of Marquette and WINN Communications of Mt. Pleasant — have announced that they will be merging, creating the largest regional telecommunications company to service both the upper and lower peninsulas.

How far is the reach: With the combination of the two networks, the PFN/WINN network will cover the majority of municipalities in the Upper Peninsula, border counties in Wisconsin, and most of the Lower Peninsula, except for the counties that border Indiana. The fiberoptic networks also will help first responders stay in communication with local hospitals and maintains 9-1-1 services, so the merger will provide services for both private and public services enterprises.     

What they're saying: “We have known and worked with WINN for many years. Its fiber optic network fills a void for us in central Michigan and we are very excited to add its employees to the PFN family,” PFN General Manager Scott Randall said. “We continue to grow rapidly and feel this move is key to continuing to deliver a quality customer experience.” 

What's next: The two companies will have to wait for federal approval of the merger. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates on antitrust policies, while also making sure that necessary service is upheld to certain areas for emergency services and economic development.