Yesterday Zayo Group (news, filings) announced a partnership with Internet2 to boost its network assets between Chicago and Seattle. When the upgrade is completed this spring, they'll have over 4Tbps of capacity with which to support Internet2's 100G network plans to hook up educational and research institutions in the Northern Tier.
Zayo announced its intention to put 100G on the Northern Tier back in October, even before they announced their national 100G rollout in December. It's a transcontinental route that has fewer competitors than the more popular paths through Colorado and Texas, and features lower latency to the west coast and to Asia via the submarine cables near Seattle.
The piece of Zayo's Northern Tier route that runs across North Dakota and into eastern Montana was on the old Sprint network, coming to the company in the 360Networks deal. While Zayo didn't specify exactly what they're building, I suspect that in Internet2 and its BTOP funding they found a way to make the finances work to overbuild that fiber recently.
At least, I sort of doubt that Sprint's direct buried cables from the 80s are likely to be supporting multi-terabits of 100G waves economically, so there must be something new in the ground at least on that stretch. But of course, I could be wrong (feel free to clarify, Zayo!) Zayo has multiple fiber routes available to it on the eastern and western ends of the Northern Tier of course.
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