While Zayo has been certainly active on the M&A front for metropolitan fiber networks, they have also been making moves to build unique regional fiber routes in underserved areas as well. Two announcements this week highlight that trend, with one project in partnership with rural ILECs, and the other receiving broadband stimulus funding.
In Ohio, Zayo is part of a coalition led by Com Net, OARNet, and a collection of last mile providers that won stimulus funding to support a 700 mile network through 28 rural and underserved communities in Western Ohio. Specifically the counties targeted will be in Butler, Clinton and Warren counties, which lie to the north and east of Cincinnati as in the picture to the left. Zayo will participate in the network build along some 424 of those route miles.
And earlier this week, Zayo joined Colorado Communications Tranport LLC, whose other members are 10 independent telephone companies in northeastern Colorado. The group aims to build a 746 mile fiber network connecting up communities in the state's eastern plains that aren't lucky enough to be along one of the major longhaul fiber routes. The network will also connect up with a similar effort in western Nebraska that Zayo is working on.
Its easier to make the financial case for building fiber routes in cities, so what does Zayo see in such rural fiber builds out in the great plains? Long term exclusivity I suppose. I wonder if they will extend the Colorado and Nebraska efforts into western Kansas as well at some point, surely the geography is similar and there would be other such partners to work with.
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