Not content with sending extra personnel and equipment into the wilds of upstate New York and southern Texas, Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) announced today that it is lighting fiber in Poland on a new route From Berlin, to Poznan, and on through to Warsaw. Level 3 has had a PoP in Warsaw for a couple years now. But while they lit fiber to Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague, the route to Warsaw they continued to serve via wavelengths. With the new fiber route comes a larger relationship with Polish cable provider Vectra, and it gets them closer to Russia where a whole lot of its IP transit growth has been coming from lately.
Bandwidth demands in eastern Europe and Russia have been exploding, and it is not at all surprising that that there would eventually be a business case for leasing dark fiber instead. What I didn't find in today's PR was mention of a ring, just a route to Warsaw. I suspect therefore that this is the first leg of an expansion and they will keep those wavelengths in place for now to complete a temporary ring. The logical route would be northeast to Vilnius, on to Helsinki, and then back to Stockholm.
But of course, capex has never been tighter so it's one step at a time. That despite everything going on right now in the economy Level 3 is finding the capex to expand eastward tells us a great deal about where the traffic growth is right now.
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