The western regional network operator Integra said yesterday that it has added 865 route miles of fiber to its network. The additional assets connect Sacramento to Salt Lake City with 100G pipes through Reno and some very dry territory.
Integra has had an increased fiber focus now for several years under the influence of its CEO Kevin O'Hara. That has mostly been directed at making better use of the existing metro fiber footprints, and adding another longhaul route is something we haven't seen until now. But it certainly makes sense in the context of their overall set of assets. Further expansion projects are apparently planned for 2014, although Integra isn't offering any details at present.
I've noted an increase lately in speculation about Integra as a target of someone like Windstream. Integra does seem ready to sit on either side of the consolidation table if the opportunity were right. But they didn't pounce on a few recent opportunities in their area of late, e.g. Freedom Dark Fiber in southern California or Spectrum Networks further north, and it's debatable whether Windstream is currently ready to offer the necessary valuation to get their attention. Seems like organic progress is the likeliest path for now, although that could change quickly.