Cross River Fiber, ZenFi create self-service cross-connect portal

A data center
With more customers buying a mix of dark and lit fiber services, Cross River Fiber and ZenFi are looking to make the interconnect process less cumbersome.

ZenFi and Cross River Fiber have created a new online portal called ZenCross Connect (zXC) to streamline the dark and lit fiber ordering process for data center interconnection (DCI).

zXc is a self-service platform enabling automated purchase and configuration of interbuilding and interstate network cross-connects. 

Using both service providers' networks, zXc offers a streamlined portal for ordering bandwidth between data centers and colocation facilities in the New York/New Jersey metro area, simplifying the interconnection process.

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By introducing the zXc platform, ZenFi and Cross River Fiber can provide preprovisioned, on-demand dark fiber and 1-10 Gbps lit services between 28 major data centers and colocation facilities in and around New York and New Jersey.

“This is a self-service platform that offers automated configurations of data center-to-data center connections, and those connections could be dark fiber or lit services,” said Vincenzo Clemente, CEO of Cross River Fiber, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “In New York and New Jersey you have a plethora of data centers.”

What drove the partnership with ZenFi is that both companies had a large presence in the New York City and New Jersey area selling dark and lit services to data center providers and other carriers.

Simplifying the cross-connect process

Clemente said the intent with the zXc platform is to simplify the cross-connect process for carriers that want to connect into area data centers.

From one website, customers that use the zXc platform are guided through a series of online ordering steps through which they identify the route, select products, and then agree to the terms and conditions.

Customers can also pay the initial invoice.

“We have users buying this stuff all day long, but it’s sort of cumbersome for an end-user today because you have to go through multiple carrier channels, get pricing, and sign long-term contracts,” Clemente said. “This tool is getting on there, picking your connectivity, ordering it online and paying for it.”

The platform offers orders on a month-to-month basis and configurations can be completed within minutes with uncomplicated point-and-click location features. Services are delivered within 15 days.

In order to enable 15-day service delivery, Cross River Fiber and ZenFi made sure they had fiber ready at any of the 28 data centers in their territories.  

“We made sure that we did all of the work behind the scenes to make sure any combination of data centers is already preprovisioned,” Clemente said.

'Oodles' of dark, lit fiber capacity

Cross River Fiber and Zen Fi expect that the new portal will attract a mix of service providers and enterprises.

Depending on the particular company’s needs, Clemente said that he expects these segments will purchase dark and lit fiber services.

“I think you’ll find there are carriers and maybe carriers that don’t necessarily have the infrastructure, but are using Type 2 circuits so they may buy dark fiber connections and light them up,” Clemente said. “Then, there are a lot of enterprise guys who will buy a lot of dark fiber and lit services.”

Clemente added what’s unique about the service is that Cross River Fiber and ZenFi have a large amount of fiber with which they can address various needs.

“Cross River and ZenFi are infrastructure providers so we have a plethora of fiber available,” Clemente said. “You can buy oodles of dark and lit capacity so that could even be attractive to the data center providers.”

While ZenFi and Cross River Fiber have not revealed any other specific locations where zXc will be available next, the two providers said the network and coverage areas for zXc will continue to grow over the next two years.

“This will be a platform to expand upon and get a lot of people thinking it could do a lot more over time,” Clemente said.