FiberLight to connect 800 cell sites in West Texas, expand lit fiber services

FiberLight continues to make progress with its Texas expansion project, announcing that it is on track to connect nearly 800 wireless cell towers in the state and install 1,765 route miles of fiber networks this year.

"We had a certain amount of route miles we wanted to complete each year and we've been able to reach that goal, which is huge based on all of the hurdles with permitting, railroads and working with municipalities," said Ron Kormos, chief strategy officer for FiberLight, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "As far as the number of cell towers, that's a huge hurdle for us to complete and the number of cell towers we're going to be able to complete is 800 by the end of the year."  

Due to this network expansion effort, the service provider now provides Layer 3 services across the central Texas region, including San Marcos, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Bryan.  

By the beginning of 2015, FiberLight will deploy its Layer 1 DWDM and Layer 2 network across West Texas, connecting Abilene, Amarillo, Lubbock, Midland, Odessa and other smaller towns in between to each other and to the state's traditional metro hubs. When this effort is completed, some of Texas' growing rural communities that were previously underserved by larger carriers can connect across the state and transport data to larger cities over high-speed Internet connections.  

Kormos said that putting the fiber into the ground is only one step in building a broader foundation to deliver a greater array of end-user services.

"Our Dallas Austin San Antonio and Houston (DASH) network has been in place and the majority of the network in West Texas is real close to being ready," Kormos said. "The Layer 1 network will be lit by the end of the year and tie together all of the major cities in West Texas while the deployment of the Layer 2 network will allow us to take more services down to the customer at a lower level."  

Kormos added that they are making traction with "oil companies, schools, along with wireless carriers in central Texas."

Another key point of the expansion effort is bringing its fiber into Austin's Data Foundry and Bryan's FIBERTOWN data centers, two of the go-to disaster recovery and backhaul redundancy points of presence (PoPs) in the central Texas region. 

"We got connectivity into FIBERTOWN, CyrusOne, and we're in some of the smaller carrier hotels in places like Amarillo and different cities so our focus is to have connectivity to all of the different carriers and enterprise customers," Kormos said.

One of the potential benefactors of these new connections will be healthcare providers that are expanding their services into rural markets via telehealth technologies. 

Looking forward, FiberLight will complete another 1,100 miles of its Texas expansion project in 2015, which will be mainly for diversity and some wireless tower deals it won from wireless operators migrating off of microwave circuits. FiberLight also plans to install another 900 miles across Texas in 2016.

"There's going to be 1,100 miles of fiber built next year, which is basically for diversity and filling in some towers in the market that are migrating off microwave circuits," Kormos said. "The final 900 miles in 2016 will be for filling in some of the gaps. We'll have all of the towers we had in service for the first batch by the end of this year and we got other customers so we'll continue to add more towers next year."

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