Birch's Oddo: We'll expand our fiber network to 1M buildings via organic builds, partner agreements

Birch Communications has set an ambitious goal to expand its fiber presence into 1 million buildings, but to get there the service provider is taking a two-pronged approach that includes building out its own fiber and purchasing long-term fiber indefeasible rights of use (IRUs) from other network partners.

Vincent Oddo, president and CEO of Birch, told FierceTelecom that this expansion will continue into 2016 with the goal of reaching into nearly all 50 states.

"This will definitely be a continuing process into 2016 and clearly we'll be expanding that quite a bit," Oddo said. "We have presence across a 22 state area, but pretty quickly this will be across all 50 states and probably close to 1 million buildings in 2016."

Oddo added that "it's an effort to get our customers the best network that's owned by us or some of our partners and in both cases comes back onto our own network, but it's a concerted effort to be a player in this space."

Having this greater presence will enable Birch to compete against larger telcos such as AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) as well as cable operators like Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) for medium and large business customers.

With a focus on expanding its presence in large NFL cities like Atlanta, Boston and Chicago to appeal to larger business customers, the service provider said that by purchasing fiber from other partners it can accelerate time to market services for more of its customers.

"We're building our own fiber network and we have 1,000 buildings we have built out in those markets and that initiative is going well, but it's a long process," Oddo said. "To augment the dark fiber that we own in those markets, we have expanded this year with a few relationships with other fiber owners and have struck commercial arrangements with them."

Scale is a key focus of Birch's fiber expansion initiative.

By establishing agreements with other fiber providers, the service provider recently announced that it now reaches 400,000 buildings. As part of that process it added 80,000 buildings across its 22-state footprint.

"Our fiber build is being done in mostly NFL cities and it's giving us that ubiquitous coverage we want," Oddo said. "When you're out there selling and you want the widest choice of broadband, you have to some ubiquity to have an efficient sale process so our goal is to leverage existing relationships."

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