Electric Lightwave doubles Los Angeles, Bay Area long-haul routes, challenging AT&T

Electric Lightwave has doubled its long-haul optical routes and network capabilities to satisfy requirements of enterprises including OTT content providers in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas, laying a greater challenge to AT&T (NYSE: T) and other regional competitors.

The routes and service options leverage a mix of Electric Lightwave's own internal network builds as well as assets it gained from opticAccess, which its parent company Integra purchased in August 2015.

The opticAccess acquisition was a key element in helping establish this new route as it enhanced Electric Lightwave's Western fiber reach with a 3,500 route mile network which reaches from Seattle to San Diego. A large portion of opticAccess' metro fiber route miles are located in the Bay Area and Los Angeles metro.

Electric Lightwave can now offer multiple direct routes between major West Coast metro areas and cable landing stations. Electric Lightwave customers have more diverse, low latency route options, allowing them the choice of bypassing heavy traffic paths commonly used by other carriers. 

"Last year we established a great foundation with one system architecture for our long-haul routes that uses the Ciena 6500 platform," said Dan Stoll, president of Electric Lightwave, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We overlaid the opticAccess assets and they are both perfect complements to each other where you have the unique route with the Electric Lightwave network running north to south and next to it you had the opticAccess route, which provided a point of diversity."

Stoll added that the combined assets enable Electric Lightwave to construct routes that are truly different than what other competitors have built.

"In between the markets it's really a process of taking a look at the routes and in ways you can enable them to avoid certain buildings whether it be hubs in metros or cities entirely you can connect the networks to achieve either greater diversity or lower latency," Stoll said.

Electric Lightwave provides two unique route options between L.A. and the Bay Area with access to key cable landing stations.

In the first option, customers can get access to three direct routes, terminating in different buildings, and can combine segments of the three routes to create a custom, diverse, fourth route.

The second option is a direct route from the Bay Area to Hillsboro, Oregon, bypassing Portland and enabling direct access to a key Oregon data center cluster and cable landing station.

Already, one of Electric Lightwave's cloud provider customers is seeing the benefits of these new routes. This cloud provider is achieving less than 8 millisecond round-trip latency between Los Angeles and the Bay Area through the use of 100G wavelength services on both of Electric Lightwave's unique fiber routes.

"Most routes that go between Hillsboro, Oregon, which is a main drop off point for landing stations and data center concentration to the Bay Area, go through downtown Portland and then run south," Stoll said. "What we did was feed that very high end international carrier content traffic by combining the Electric Lightwave route with the other route that goes south to Salem and south to the Bay Area."  

Electric Lightwave is also taking an alternative approach by separating the locations of its diverse and long-haul routes.

"There's always a building your long haul route will terminate in and if that building is the same as your diverse route there might be a single point of failure," Stoll said. "We're terminating our long haul routes in different carrier hotels and data centers in Los Angeles just to provide that additional degree of diversity."

An additional benefit of these two unique route options is access to key cable landing stations, something that's important to international service providers trying to establish a foothold in the U.S.

Complementing its long-haul route options, the company recently constructed a new route to Quincy, Washington, one of the country's largest data center clusters.

Besides offering long-haul capabilities, the Electric Lightwave network also supports access to more than 3,500 fiber lit enterprise premises and large multi-tenant buildings including more than 100 data centers, offering carrier-grade solutions to meet increasing capacity demands.

"Long haul and metro are very complementary and a lot of the long haul does point towards the wholesale content and very high enterprise as a service type market," Stoll said. "As we're continuing to focus on adding large multi-tenant buildings on a success basis as well as in parts of our markets focusing on the right ways to build new backbones and new rings we're doing more of that as we have done in previous years."

These new routes are part of a broader initiative taken by Electric Lightwave and Integra to increase service delivery over its own fiber-based network assets.  

"Our fiber asset sales roughly doubled over the course of the year and is continuing into 2016," Stoll said. "Our average size of sales doubled over the course of the year."

Stoll added that in particular the growth is coming from Ethernet and optical wavelength services.

"We have seen tremendous sales upside," Stoll said. "Our wavelength sales alone increased by over 300 percent during the year."

For more:
- see the release

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