RCN Metro, the metro and regional fiber subsidiary of RCN Business (NASDAQ:RCNI, news, filings), announced today that they have built a new ethernet circuit for Lafayette College. Lafayette needed diverse connectivity, preferably to New York to the east rather than over its existing routes to Philadelphia to the south. RCN's regional fiber through the area via utility rights of way rather to the east where everyone else has assets; I believe the fiber in question came from its Neon acquisition a few years ago.
It's a small deal in the grand scheme of things of course, but it serves to remind us of the value of unique routes. Where everyone has fiber, competition drives down margins. Lafayette happens to be on the eastern edge of the Lehigh Valley in Easton PA, which is rather close to where I grew up across the river in New Jersey - I think I used to go bowling right on the route in question in Phillipsburg. When it comes to fiber, Easton may seem close to the I-95 corridor where so much fiber goes through, but it is just far enough outside of the NYC and Philadelphia metro areas to be off the beaten path in many ways and certinly in terms of fiber access. RCN's route through the area therefore offers one of the few alternatives to the ILEC, so the revenues are likely to be sticky and have good margins. There are quite a few colleges in the Lehigh Valley, and they tend to stick together. As bandwidth requirements grow steadily on campuses, no doubt RCN will be having other conversations in the area.
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