Lumen said yesterday that it plans to significantly increase its potential capacity nationwide. The company plans to add 6 million fiber miles to its intercity fiber network over the next several years. The move takes advantage of Lumen’s existing extra conduits, meaning they don’t have to dig, just pull.
The conduits derive mostly from the original buildouts by the former companies absorbed by today’s Lumen. The biggest chunk comes from Level 3 Communications, which famously buried 12 conduits on much of its original longhaul build. But Qwest and WilTel each had additional conduit, and all of that and more wound up in Lumen’s hands eventually too. Some of that conduit has been leveraged in other efforts, but the result is that Lumen can and now apparently will overpull an actual national fiber footprint.
Lumen plans to leverage the latest Corning SMF-28 ULL and SMF-28 Ultra fiber across some 24,000 intercity route miles, which is not a minor project. If the 6M fiber miles were spread equally, it would be a 250-count fiber on every route. Of course, the upgrade may be a bit more complicated in design, but that gives a general idea of what they are up to.
After the fiber barons put all that fiber in the ground in the late 90s, many asked how long it would take before we could ever use it all such that we’d need to build more. Well, looks like the answer was 25 years, give or take.
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