Continuing in my series looking at metro assets and lit buildings, I took a look at Cogent. If you're willing to keep clicking, their website yields plenty of information - buildings, addresses, and whether each is a neutral or Cogent-owned datacenter - the rest I assume to be enterprise buildings for the sake of analysis. For this post, let's save Europe for later and look at their assets in North America, here are their top 20 markets (grouped by MSA) by number of lit buildings:
Cogent is very, very concentrated in the Tier-1 cities, in fact Cogent's top 16 markets hold 94% of all their lit buildings on the continent. That's where the big carrier hotels congregate obviously, but interestingly it's also where Cogent focuses its enterprise business. In the USA, there are simply no exceptions to this rule - unlike Level 3 there is no contrast at all between their enterprise-centric and web-centric footprints. On the one hand, this allows Cogent to keep overhead low through centralization and shared resources. On the other hand, Cogent lacks differentiation from the pack that tier 2, 3, 4 markets can bring. Their markets tend to have more competition and their buildings are within a short distance of many other carriers' fiber. We can perhaps see why they focus so much on being the price leader.
The only oddity is Cogent's substantial presence in Toronto and Montreal - something one rarely sees in US carriers due to the ownership laws up north, I wonder how Cogent manages that when few others try.