Level 3 Communications (NYSE: LVLT) has established an agreement with 52Eighty, a wireless tower infrastructure company, to create 200 new wireless tower access sites that will be situated near its Extended On-Net (EON) sites.
The EON service was launched last year as a way to provide a suite of fiber and Ethernet wholesale services to both wireless and wireline operators that need connectivity for their customers in either rural or secondary markets.
Set to be built in rural, suburban, and metro markets, the new tower access sites will be built on or near select EON locations.
52Eighty will have access rights to develop the new tower sites near its own facilities by 2013, while Level 3 will be able to deploy related optical transport equipment (transponders, muxes and network interface devices) at each location. Both service providers will put up their own capital to fund the project with 52Eighty covering tower construction, while Level 3 will provide transport and services to and from the compound structure.
While Level 3 may have a wide-reaching fiber network that reaches into a number of the largest wireless operator's cell sites, it needs other strategic tower partners like 52Eighty to target new opportunities.
And with wireless operators like AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) looking for alternative wireless backhaul sources, Level 3 ups its competitive footing to challenge a growing group of wireless backhaul specialists and cable operators that are also chasing the burgeoning wireless backhaul opportunity.
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