Here are a few interesting datapoints that have crossed the wires this week:
Metro fiber specialist American Fiber Systems has been busy out in the Rockies. On Tuesday they announced the completion of an upgraded intercity ring connecting its four markets in the region: Las Vegas, Reno, Boise, and Salt Lake City. The unique ring consists of 18,720 fiber miles in all, and enables the company to offer regional businesses a wider variety of services up to 10Gbps. This follows the completion of their extension from Reno into Carson City last month. I wonder what's next on the table for AFS.
Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) won yet another CDN contract in the gaming sector. They will be providing caching and download, origin storage, and content analytics for CCP's products which include the sci-fi fantasy game Eve Online - a massively multiplayer online game. Eve is not a new game, it has been around since 2003 in various incarnations and has some 300,000 subscribers - including a following in Asia.
On the metro fiber front, XO Holdings (news, filings) won a contract with the Memphis Coalition for Advanced Networking (MCAN). MCAN is a coalition of universities and hospitals, and XO will be providing a dark fiber ring to hook them together with 10Gbps links. The deal is partially funded by a grant from the state of Tennessee. Memphis is one of XO's deepest markets, with 495 route miles of metro fiber crisscrossing the metro area. We should be getting some more news out of XO soon, their class A preferred is coming due next month unless Icahn extends it.
And abvt has chosen gear from Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) to power its ultra-low-latency network. They have deployed the company's 2RS module for the CN 4200 in their metro networks, which helps reduce equipment-related delays. The financial market's interest in low latency services have been the most interesting development over the last year in the bandwidth sector. I frankly still don't see the long term benefit to the overall economy for this sort of thing, but in the short term it has allowed both wholesale fiber operators and equipment manufacturers a rare chance to offer differentiated services for a premium price. Three cheers for de-commoditization!
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