Yesterday southeastern metro fiber operator FiberLight (news) announced another expansion project to go with the buildout in West Texas. They will be providing Ethernet backhaul services to over 40 additional towers in the Tampa metro area for ‘one of the nation’s leading wireless providers’. The Tampa project will add 50 route miles in the region for FiberLight, bringing their Tampa total to 300 route miles and 100 unique laterals when complete.
FiberLight is not new to the wireless backhaul game. Like Zayo, they have have found value in such contracts as part of their overall strategy. But last year, two of their wireless wins from the independents ran into their own troubles – Clearwire and FiberTower both signed on in 2010 only to stop building out due to financial constraints in 2011.
Things are looking brighter now for the wireless backhaul business of course. Clearwire is now back in the game for LTE, Sprint is already building out, DISH may get its waiver before long, and T-Mobile USA is said to be working on its own plans. Whichever buildouts happen, the ongoing explosion in wireless data traffic means that fewer operators are ignoring the fiber-to-the-tower business anymore.
FiberLight has recently undergone some sort of internal reorganization, with layoffs focused on the sales and marketing teams. Their public focus on new expansion projects suggests that whatever the reasons behind those moves, they still have the capex to grow their footprint.
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