Integra extends fiber network to Minneapolis area to target business opportunities

Integra is extending its fiber network to Minneapolis, Minn., with plans to build out about 1,600 fiber miles as a way to attract new business customer opportunities that exist in the city's Central Business District (CBD).

When this network extension is completed in Q4 2013, it will add 225 on-net buildings to its footprint and over 3,000 businesses. Area businesses will be able to access Integra's growing portfolio of Carrier Ethernet Services, IP/MPLS VPN and managed and cloud services, including Integra's Hosted Voice Service and Cloud Firewall Service.

What is attractive to Integra about Minneapolis is that it has a strong economy with medium to large businesses that Integra has become more focused on serving over the past year.

Minnesota was already a market in which both legacy Integra and Eschelon had an established presence.

"It actually has been the largest market we have that does not have asset strength commensurate with our asset strength in most of our other markets," said Jesse Selnick, chief financial officer for Integra, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "What we really wanted to do was have our network and asset base in markets that look similar to the rest of the markets, to use the same products to target the same customers, and execute on our on-net and near-net strategy we're pursuing in earnest in the rest of the footprint."

Although Integra has been expanding its on-net fiber footprint on a success-based model as it signed customers, Selnick said this is the "first large-scale network buildout we have done in quite a while."

The CLEC plans to make additional network investments not only throughout the city, but also other markets in and around its regional footprint where it sees potential sales prospects.

However, Selnick could not say directly where Integra would go next other than to say they will look at expansion projects that can become extensions of its current network infrastructure.  

"Anything with compelling enterprise demand drivers like Minneapolis-St. Paul that's either within our existing footprint or adjacent to markets where we have a presence is part of our growth plan," he said. "The core of our growth plan is leveraging the embedded network we have in our existing markets, increasing our on-net penetration and near-net opportunities off that network."

While this fiber network extension is new, it is an extension of the service provider's presence in a market that began in 1998 and was bolstered by its acquisition of Eschelon Telecom in 2007.

In addition to providing access to local businesses, the network extension can be used for wholesale applications, particularly to provide access to data center providers that need access to multiple markets.

Minneapolis is the latest area where it has leveraged and extended existing network infrastructure it acquired from Eschelon. In August, the CLEC began using the fiber network facilities to provide services in Montana.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
Integra extends fiber-based products to Montana
Integra makes its 100G move with Ciena
Integra Telecom rebrands itself as "Integra," expands focus to enterprise market
Integra refinances $825 million of debt, raises S&P, Moody's credit ratings

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