Eight months into 2013, Zayo hadn't bought any fiber networks yet -- just a data center in Austin. So you knew there had to be something in the works, and there was. Today Zayo announced an agreement to buy Access Communications for $40M.
Access Communications is based up in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, whee it operates 1,200 route miles of dark fiber connecting up 500 buildings. I have not run into them before and have yet to find a network map for them, but they are particularly strong in the education vertical. As with its other purchases of similar assets, Zayo will surely keep the dark fiber business going while adding lit services on top.
Minneapolis is one of Zayo's longest held and deepest metro markets, dating from the acquisition of Onvoy back in 2007 and including substantial fiber from the American Fiber Systems deal, a stimulus-funded buildout, and an extensive fiber-to-the-tower buildout. As of last summer they had 1,366 route miles and 615 buildings on-net and climbing. Most recently, they extended the IP backbone they acquired in the AboveNet deal into the city.
When the purchase of Access Communications is complete, they'll be at 2,200 route miles in the region and over 1,000 on-net buildings though the overlap isn't clear yet. There surely is some of course, as Zayo was likely a customer of Access for dark fiber to help power its organic expansion in the city over the past few years.