Zayo Group has unveiled plans to build longhaul dark fiber up the eastern seaboard, expanding further the company’s intercity fiber buildout plans. The new route will stretch across 800 miles between Atlanta and the Washington D.C. metro areas, passing through Charlotte, Raleigh, and Richmond along the way — and of course hitting Ashburn as well.
Zayo’s 8-year-long rollup of fiber assets combined with organic expansion has given them a truly national footprint. However, it is still held together in many places with leased intercity dark fiber IRUs, especially the strands on the former WilTel network acquired with the AboveNet deal. Lately, the company has been opportunistically supplementing many of those pieces with new intercity fiber.
This is already the fourth longhaul buildout announced by Zayo in the last six months. The most recent example was the Dallas-Phoenix route, but Zayo also has significant fiber going in between Dallas and Omaha and is also adding a new link between Salt Lake City and Sacramento. In some cases they are using existing conduit assets, in others they are digging. And come to think of it, they also purchased that dark fiber route between Denver and Chicago a year and a half ago as well in the FiberLink deal.
So the particular routes they are starting with may be opportunistic, but nobody puts together four such intercity fiber expansions totaling some 5,000 route miles in that short a time unless it’s part of a broader plan. Zayo is clearly stitching together national dark fiber, and we’ll be seeing a few more of these at least. The Atlanta-Dallas route seems like a place they’d like to find a reason, as with the other buildouts going on it would give them a southern longhaul route from DC to the west coast. And who knows, perhaps they’ll be the one to finally put new fiber across the Northern Tier.
The Atlanta-DC buildout is expected to be ready by the end of 2017.
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