Zayo this morning announced it has been selected by a major wireless carrier for a wireless backhaul upgrade in two markets. The difference this time is that what Zayo will be deploying will be C-RAN connectivity, which is what the industry is headed toward to support 5G.
Zayo has of course won a variety of small cell deployments over the last few years, and today has about two thousand such sites in service or under construction. C-RAN is another step down that same road toward greater density for both the wireless carriers and fiber operators. 5G isn't even an actual technology today, but rather a buzzword placeholder for the next generation of wireless service we know will be coming.
They may not know what the standards will be, but wireless operators know they will need need more density to meet the ever-growing demand for wireless data from devices of all types -- from consumer gadgets to the internet of things. They are turning to C-RAN architectures to scale their wireless network capacity, and that means working closely with fiber builders and operators to redesign things at the infrastructure level.
And every new site that Zayo brings on-net for a more dense backhaul network gets them that much closer to potential customers for fiber connectivity as well. That's been a big piece of the rationale for their FTT push over the years, and it isn't changing now.
As for which wireless carrier it is, it's probably Verizon or AT&T since they will likely move first on all this. But it doesn't really matter. They'll all be doing it at some point.
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