We haven't heard too much from dark fiber startup Allied Fiber (news, filings) of late. Back in May the company unveiled its rather startling five phase plan to build longhaul dark fiber nationwide, with the first phase connecting New York, Chicago, and Washington DC. In an update today, Allied Fiber announced additional financing from ABRY Partners and Falcon Investment Advisors that will allow it to complete phase 1, which will cost roughly $140M in all. The expected completion date is now May 2011.
What they're looking for right now is to get the initial customers lined up and to collect information about actual customer requirements for fiber, colocation space, and power. They apparently have over three dozen network operators of various stripes already lined up. Just how much each of those operators is looking to spend is of course unknown, but three dozen is definitely not a lonely number and I'll be interested to see just who is on the list.
Allied Fiber is trying to rewrite the book on optimal design for physical layer interconnections. Their proposed network includes both a longhaul conduit (528-count, that's up from 432 as planned back in May) and a short haul conduit (216-count) which is designed to be cut into as needed. In addition to the fiber, there are some 19 colocation facilities being built alongside the duct where customers will be able to place equipment, as well as direct connectivity to several hundred wireless towers along the way. They themselves will actually not light anything, and thus aren't buying equipment. It's purely a dark fiber proposition, and one that threatens to rock a few boats.
So when is Phase 2? I'll bet we hear more about that in the Spring, as Phase 1 winds down. But the DC to Miami route they have proposed follows a unique route down the Appalachians that manages to skip both Carolinas along the way, which will make eastern Tennessee happy.