Ok, maybe that's a bit premature but everyone needs goals to shoot for. But as 2010 starts rolling, I think we are starting to see a much more aggressive stance from industry participants overall, and especially from the metro fiber space which seems ready to explode. Alongside the expansive noises Abovenet is making, this week there were interesting announcements by Lightower, Optimum Lightpath, Intellifiber, Orange Business, and 360Networks that hopefully foreshadow more to come:
Lightower has announced its intention to expand its regional and metro fiber network into New Hampshire. They plan to bring dark fiber to Nashua, Manchester, Salem, Merrimack, and other neighboring towns. New Hampshire is not a hotbed of competitive fiber, the only other substantial player in these cities that I know of is RCN Metro via its Neon acquisition. Given Lightower's expansion in New Jersey late last year, the company is expanding to both the north and the south.
Optimum Lightpath has won a nice contract with Howell Township schools in Monmouth County, New Jersey - the third largest digital school district in the country. That's 12 schools, 6,800 students, and 1,500 teachers. Amazingly they had until now been on an ATM network based on a bunch of T1 circuits from the ILEC, which will now be replaced with much higher speeds via Optimum Lightpath's metro Ethernet footprint. I wouldn't expect Optimum Lightpath to enter new markets, but simply to keep on deepening their penetration in the New York metro area.
Intellifiber has extended its metro reach into the Ashburn campus of DuPont Fabros. Apparently they initially sought last mile connectivity from another provider, but in the face of delays just went and pulled their own fiber into the facility. That seems to foreshadow an active year ahead for the metro fiber space: things to do, and little patience for delays. With its rumored low latency Chicago-New York route, Intellifiber seems to be ready to start making a real dent in the mid-Atlantic marketplace.
And over in Russia, France Telecom's international arm Orange Business Services has launched a DWDM segment between Moscow and Rostov-on-Don over 1000km to the south. The route hooks up many cities along the way and adds over 3500 route miles to the company's Russian backbone, for over 8500 total route miles now. In most markets, Orange Business rides on other backbones at the wavelength level. It's interesting that in Russia they seem to leasing and building at the fiber level.
And finally, 360Networks has expanded its wholesale VoIP offerings throughlut northern California through Eureka to San Francisco and Santa Cruz. 360Networks continues to fly mostly beneath the radar, but they are still sitting on some unique regional fiber assets.