Earlier this week, Facebook announced in a blog post this week that it plans to sell excess capacity on the fiber routes it has built and plans to build on its own. Yep, Facebook is dipping its toes into the world of the wholesale network infrastructure provider. Do they really mean it?
According to the post, Facebook is building fiber connecting its sites in Ohio and North Carolina back to Ashburn, Virginia. They plan to allow third parties, including local and regional providers, to buy capacity on those routes, which will pass through underserved regions. They also mentioned a 200 mile route between Fort Worth and their New Mexico facility.
That doesn't mean they are becoming a new Zayo of course. Facebook is building its own infrastructure in cases where they can't find anyone to do it for/with them explicitly. By showing their willingness to wholesale some of that fiber, they are demonstrating that they can roll their own if they need to -- which puts them perhaps in a better negotiating position for other routes they want built.
Of course it will improve their own business case for those routes they've decided to build out, at least by a little bit. And the public relations aspect of bringing fiber to underserved communities in West Virginia doesn't hurt either.