ATLANTA –USCarrier Telecom says it has “substantially expanded” its network in the Southeast by acquiring Lightwave, an Alabama-based fiber-optic network company.

Financial terms of the deal, which closed on Dec. 30, were not given.

With the transaction, USCarrier will acquire more than 5,000 additional fiber miles, multiplexing equipment and dark fiber from Lightwave. The carrier is also purchasing additional points of presence from Mobile to Montgomery, AL; Montgomery to Panama City, FL; Panama City to Mobile and Montgomery to Columbus, GA.

Overall, Atlanta-based USCarrier will have a Southeast footprint totaling 11,800 fiber miles throughout Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

“By acquiring the assets of Lightwave, USCarrier will be able to fully integrate the Alabama/Florida fiber optic network into USCarrier’s Georgia network,” said Michael Layer, president and CEO of USCarrier. “Additionally, this transaction supports our continuing dedication to network improvements for our customers. We have made significant investments in that network in anticipation of the acquisition.”

The acquisition of Lightwave also is anticipated to accelerate USCarrier’s strategy for growth in 2004, the company states. It has been operating the Lightwave network facilities and equipment under a management agreement since May 2000, giving USCarrier an understanding of the Alabama and Florida network.

In addition, USCarrier says its operational, marketing and engineering efforts will continue to expand its customer base into the Alabama/Florida area. The firm’s Macon Network Operations Center in Georgia will be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the network.