Last month, in my series on lit buildings, Optimum Lightpath showed up as the most densely connected alternative metro fiber provider out there. Of course, being focused on New York City and its suburbs – the most densely populated area in the country – makes that density possible, but nevertheless I had never really noticed this division of Cablevision until then. Well last week they made a move, signing a deal to buy 4Connections, which supplies metro dark fiber over a wide swath of New Jersey.
4Connections didn’t show up in my posts about on-net buildings, but I did run across them. I didn’t add them to my tables because there is exceptionally little information about their fiber assets that is publicly available. It is obvious though why Optimum Lightpath would want them, the networks partially overlap and the combination gives them both increased reach and density in New Jersey, 440 route miles of metro and regional fiber it looks like.
Given that the NYC area’s status as a world business center as well as one of the top internet hubs in the world, it is not surprising that there are many quite large alternative metro networks covering it. Abovenet has a nice one. AT&T surely does, although I don’t know its details. RCN, Level 3, and XO also have a substantial presence. Even Global Crossing has some metro assets in the city. But it is hard to argue with the fact that, in the arena of last mile connections to the enterprise, Optimum Lightpath’s footprint, 2800 lit buildings, and parent company support are perhaps one of the most powerful challenges to Verizon in the region.
I find myself wondering if they will ever step outside the NYC bubble – this recent foray deeper into New Jersey indicates that perhaps they will spread northeast and southwest along the I-95 corridor over time. An obvious M&A target there would be to make a deal for RCN Business, which was for sale two years ago but bought Neon instead. It seems like it would be a good fit for Optimum Lightpath’s next hunger attack.
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