As wireless operators move forward with their C-RAN deployments, it could spell new opportunities for a host of competitive fiber providers and tower providers like Zayo Group and Crown Castle that offer dark and lit fiber services.
Shentel is expanding its fiber network in parts of four states, enabling the provider to pursue a mix of dark and lit fiber-based services for business and wholesale wireless customers.
With wireless operators like Sprint and Verizon moving forward with their respective small cell plans, a new Dell'Oro Group report has forecast that small cell backhaul will contribute about 25 percent of mobile backhaul transport revenue by 2020.
Sprint recently said during its fourth quarter earnings call that it would be using a mix of 2.5 GHz spectrum and dark fiber for small backhaul-- a move that could potentially benefit various competitive wireline carriers who have aggressively built out fiber networks in anticipation of the emerging small cell backhaul trend.
FirstLight Fiber is enhancing its fiber diet by adding 36,000 miles into New York's Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties, enabling it to fulfill a mix of wireless backhaul and enterprise service opportunities.
Sprint believes that by transitioning from wholesale fiber- to microwave-based backhaul it will be able to save up to $1 billion.
Southern Light and Allied Fiber have signed a 20-year Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU) agreement, giving Southern Light another avenue by which to extend its network to a growing customer base across Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.
TowerCloud plans to join the growing ranks of wholesale providers offering turnkey small cell services for wireless operators, but it says that its one advantage other national fiber providers don't have is knowledge of local markets.
Zayo has expanded its fiber-to-the-tower footprint in Atlanta to accommodate an unnamed Tier 1 wireless operator that awarded the company a new wireless backhaul contract.
Cox Business joined a growing group of wholesale providers in offering small cell backhaul to wireless operators, but it is also going to take advantage of the emerging need for turnkey services.