I have finally updated my table of metro fiber networks, route miles, and on-net buildings, and have added a column describing the main markets each is in. The recession didn't slow the industry's investments in metro fiber connectivity very much, but of course it did affect some participants more than others. I am pleased to welcome several new additions to the list:
- PAETEC - While the company was historically fiber-free, ever since the McLeodUSA acquisition they have held a fair amount of metro fiber in the Midwest and on down through Texas. However, I had no data for it and even McLeodUSA had never given details. Not any longer, they have checked in with 1,900 on-net buildings across a 5700 route mile metro footprint.
- Alpheus Communications - I had been unable to find much information on this company either, although I knew they were a major provider in most of Texas. But they have updated their website and included an on-net building list so I finally get to add them. Their business model is of the wholesale type, focusing on central offices, wireless switching centers and such rather than lots of enterprise buildings.
- Arialink - This company came to my attention when they recently bought the Lansing assets of Waypoint Telecom. Lansing is a fairly small market, so those 251 on-net buildings represent must quite a dense metro fiber network.
While I'm sure there are more single-market providers out there like Arialink that I haven't yet found much about, with the addition of PAETEC and Alpheus there are probably only a few medium-sized metro fiber footprints for which I am still seeking data.
So who has been doing the most digging laterals since this time last year? Exact comparisons won't be possible yet because my datapoints are irregular and of differing accuracy. However, with a little interpolation I can at least make some approximations. Here are some approximate numbers for gross lit building additions over the past year for those having added about 100 or more and for which I have enough data:
|Black Rock Cable||100||+13%|
As one might expect, it is industry heavyweight TW Telecom who has been doing the most digging overall. But on a percentage basis the leaders are Abovenet, Zayo, EasyTel, and Fibertech. Now as someone will surely remind me, not every lit building is equivalent. In fact, Cogent's 120 probably have more square feet of office space than most others on the list and RCN Metro focuses on larger wholesale sites as well. Pretty much everyone on this list is actively adding buildings to their networks, though Level 3 has been lagging on a relative basis. Others probably are building out at similar rates to those on this list, but I lack the historical data so far.