About Sovernet

FirstLight and Sovernet Communications Combine Operations

FirstLight combines its complete portfolio of data, Internet, data center, cloud and voice services, backed by highly responsive, locally-based customer support, with Sovernet’s high-capacity network transport, broadband Internet, data center and voice services in Vermont and New York.

Company Stats

  • On-Net >5,000 on-net locations
  • Near-Net ~20,000 locations serviceable by our fiber network
  • Route Miles 9,600 Route Miles
Data Centers
  • Facilities 11 Data Center/Colocation Facilities
    – Located in Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont
  • Sq Footage >128,000 square feet of data center/colocation space

So, why choose Firstlight?

Locally-Based Service and Support

FirstLight offers locally-based support teams in all of the markets we serve, now combined with Sovernet, we have more resources and employees in the states of New York and Vermont. The FirstLight team is dedicated to providing superior services, backed with the understanding that our clients’ mission critical communication needs demand comprehensive, proactive support.

As evidenced by this latest development, we continue to invest in the local community expanding access to high-quality broadband throughout the region.

Fiber-Based Network

Exclusively owned and operated by FirstLight, the FirstLight regional network now spans 9,600 route miles of fiber and more than 5,000 lit locations, with access to more than 20,000 locations, in six states with connectivity to Montreal. Our network is designed as an ultra-high availability system and is architected to provide scalable services from 5 Mbps to 100 Gbps.

Complete Set of Services Geared for Today’s Businesses

We offer businesses a full suite of advanced fiber optic communications services including Data, Internet, Voice, Virtual PBX, Managed Services, Cloud Services and Data Center.

We are proud to serve customers representing a wide range of industries:

  • Carriersoxford_2
  • Wireless Providers
  • MSOs
  • Banking and Finance
  • Healthcare
  • K-12 and College/University Education
  • Research and Education Organizations
  • Public Safety Agencies
  • State & Local Government
  • Professional Services
  • Fully Customizable Solutions

FirstLight offers customized solution designed to meet unique client requirements in order to address the increasing demand for high-end applications and services.

Solid Financial Backing

FirstLight has strong financials and is privately-owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners. Oak Hill provides the guidance and financial backing necessary for FirstLight’s continued growth. Given its solid financial backing, FirstLight is well positioned to take on and successfully complete projects of all sizes.

Sovernet employees are deeply committed to the communities that we serve.

Through the Sovernet Community Giving Program, we support a wide variety of worthwhile programs and organizations. Our staff has selected the Vermont Foodbank as our primary giving recipient.

The mission of our Giving Program:

  • To give back to our northern New England communities
  • To motivate and support our employees in making charitable contributions of their choice
  • To support Sovernet businesses and communities


Sovernet is a proud sponsor of the Vermont Foodbank and of this representative sample of the many other charitable and non-profit organizations we support.

Find out more about our giving criteria.

Get Social with Sovernet!

Rich Kendall

President & CEO

Rich Kendall joined Sovernet Communications as President and CEO in February of 2006. He brings over 17 years of telecom experience in positions of successful leadership. Prior to joining Sovernet, Rich was the Executive Vice President of Sales for Lightship Telecom, a New Hampshire based competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC), where he led 190% revenue growth from 2002 until the sale of the company in 2005. Previously, Rich spent 10 years at a Massachusetts-based CLEC, Network Plus, most recently serving as the Senior Vice President of Sales where he was integral to the successful IPO and secondary public offerings of the company which helped raise over $300 million dollars. Under Rich’s leadership, the sales team expanded to a successful 500-person, 18-city organization. Additionally, Rich has also held positions at MCI and Fleet Bank. He has a BA in History and Government & Legal Studies from Bowdoin College.

Brandon Peyton

Vice President of Network Infrastructure

Brandon joined Sovernet in 2003. Prior to 2003, Brandon held senior management positions with MCI WorldCom and UUNET. Through more than 20 years working in the United States, Australia, and across the Asia Pacific region, Brandon has held senior management positions in Network Engineering and Operations, Service Delivery/Provisioning, Planning, Corporate IT&T, Carrier Management, and Vendor Relations. In these roles he has developed strong teams locally and regionally, to work with him in delivering significant structural change to the organizations, resulting in measurable financial improvements, service quality availability, and realization of company objectives. Brandon holds a degree in Computer Science.

Lawrence Lackey

Vice President of Administration & Regulatory Affairs

Lawrence manages Sovernet’s compliance with state and federal regulations, interaction with regulatory commissions, as well as human resources and administrative functions. Prior to joining Sovernet in 2008, he advised a number of clients, including the Vermont legislature, on financial, technical, regulatory and public policy issues relating to telecommunications and broadband services, served as a hearing officer for the Vermont Public Service Board, and Director for Telecommunications at the Vermont Department of Public Service. Lawrence holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Bates College in Maine and a master’s degree in business from the University of Vermont.

Sharon Combes-Farr

Director of Marketing

At Sovernet, Sharon is responsible for marketing, communications, and customer service. Sharon came to Sovernet after directing the 18-month federal disaster relief grant-funded Vermont Digital Economy Project, for the Vermont Council on Rural Development. Previously, she spent 11 years with Qwest Communications, in Phoenix, Arizona, where she played a key role in developing Qwest's consumer retention and customer loyalty strategy, and two years in the Vermont telecommunications industry. Sharon has a B.A. in International Affairs from George Washington University, and two Master’s degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is an avid volunteer in her hometown of Ludlow, where she lives with her husband, writer Bruce Farr.

Crista Pratt


Crista joined Sovernet in October 2007 as our lead staff accountant. Now, as the company controller, she supervises accounting, audit, planning and analysis both at Sovernet and its subsidiaries, including ION Communications in Albany, New York. Prior to working at Sovernet, Crista started her career in customer service at Savings Bank of Walpole. She then advanced her career at C&S Wholesale Grocers as a senior accountant on its Gross Profit team. Crista obtained her A.S. in Accounting from River Valley Community College in Claremont, New Hampshire. A native to the area, Crista enjoys the outdoors, especially kayaking and camping.

Our consistent growth provides for many exciting opportunities and new openings in a challenging and fast-paced environment.

Sovernet offers Health Insurance, 401(k) (w/ employer match), Life/AD&D, Short & Long Term Disability Insurance, Medical and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts, Earned Time Off, and more!

Contact us for more information or send your resume to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Current Job Opportunities:


There are currently no open positions. Please check back at another time.

State-of-the-Art Network Offers Speeds Up to 100 Gbps

Our network is a Carrier-grade, 4,500+ mile fiber optic network with speeds up to 100 gigabits throughout New York and New England, with more than 110 rural and metro points-of-presence.

The Sovernet network is fully monitored 24/7, with traffic carried over our fully redundant core. With connections to multiple Tier 1 providers, and a commitment to the highest levels of redundancy, you can be assured that your Sovernet services will be available when you need them.

Key Network Benefits

Available when you need us.

State-of-the art and Carrier-grade.

Dynamic and flexible.

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  1. Why Sovernet
  2. About Us


Our custom-built solutions, dedicated team, and state-of-the-art network set us apart.

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