FiberLight continues to make progress with its fiber-network buildout in Texas, announcing that in the first five months of 2014 it connected more than 600 cell towers and installed nearly 5,500 route miles across the state.
During this period, it focused on bringing a number of smaller cities and towns to its network, including Victoria and Bryan. It has also brought its fiber into new data centers--including Fibertown in Bryan--that will be connected to FiberLight's high-speed DASH (Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and Houston) network this month.
"We're starting to see the network come together with contiguous connections," said John Schmitt, FiberLight's chief development officer, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "As you're building it out, you're putting miles in the ground, but you're not able to connect the dots and now slowly but surely we're being able to connect the dots and pulling capacity back into the major metro areas."
In addition, FiberLight began the first phase of what it says is a planned 1,800-mile layer-one high-speed transport circuit connecting Midland, Odessa, Abilene, San Angelo, Ozona, Fort Stockton, Monahans, Lubbock, Amarillo and Wichita Falls, which will be completed later this year.
Now that it has fiber in the ground, the next stage is to start offering services over the network.
It plans to build out 30 regeneration points of presence to tie into the West Texas network. Over the next six months, the next step will then be to tie West Texas to Central Texas.
Getting to this point was not easy. FiberLight had to overcome two key obstacles: gaining local permits for necessary rights of way and competing with the state's local energy companies for construction personnel.
Ron Kormos, FiberLight's president of Texas operations, said the company is overcoming the personnel issue by bringing "on a number of new, well-qualified employees in support of our work in Texas."
During the rest of 2014, FiberLight plans to complete 6,500 miles of its planned 8,000-mile expansion project, bring fiber to an additional 275 cell towers, giving it a total of 900 sites. It will also finish construction on its layer-one high-speed transport circuit and connect Austin's Data Foundry data center to FiberLight's DASH network.
Although wireless backhaul might be a key focus for FiberLight's Texas-network expansion, Kormos said that FiberLight is seeing growing interest from local businesses to buy its growing set of fiber-based Ethernet services.
"The network is built for backhaul, but we know the enterprise business is there waiting for us," Schmitt said. "We can send our sales troops out and have them knocking on doors and educating people, but what inevitably is happening is we're getting inbound calls from entities that see a fiber marker or see crews out on the street and a call is coming into corporate where they say they have a need that was not on our radar."
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