When Birch acquired Cbeyond last year, along with it came Cbeyond's nascent efforts to add some significant metro fiber to its diet. It wasn't clear at the time whether Birch would continue that effort, not having done so itself too often as it pursued its prolific CLEC roll-up strategy. Yet the metro fiber buildouts are not only still moving along, Birch has been actively promoting its progress and yesterday offered another update.
Their on-net footprint is up another 46 buildings to 686 nationaide, a number which they just two and a half months ago announced the addition of 60 buildings to reach 640. Birch plans to hit 800 on-net buildings by the end of the year, which is a pretty respectable rate for a company that has historically spent its efforts at other levels of the network.
17 of the most recent on-net building additions came in Dallas on their new 209 route mile dark fiber ring that now reaches 150 buildings, while 22 others were in Los Angeles. Birch's other ongoing metro expansion projects are in Houston and Denver.
Birch has been relatively quiet on the M&A front since the Cbeyond deal, but I expect that may be about to change. With its greater size, more fully national scope, and newfound success at the fiber layer, there are a lot of roll-up options the company might consider that they might have passed up before. EarthLink perhaps?
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