Dark fiber provider Lightower's recent buildout of 1,100 route miles in Virginia continues to pay off as the company announced that it is now an authorized vendor for the Commonwealth of Virginia for data networking services.
Schools, libraries, nonprofit organizations, and of course government agencies and other public bodies can access Lightower's fiber services using the Virginia Information Technologies Agency (VITA) broadband Internet contracts to obtain service.
Lightower began building its fiber network in Virginia in late 2013 and completed the build in November 2014. Municipalities and government agencies have had access to its network and related services since the completion of the rollout, but the contract award, made in accordance with a Request for Proposal (RFP) issued by the commonwealth, opens the way for other public institutions to also gain access to the company's fiber assets.
"The award of this contract solidifies our history of successfully serving high performance networking to government agencies and organizations throughout the country," said Rob Shanahan, Lightower's CEO, in a release. "Agencies and public bodies will be able to rapidly scale their networking capacities and dramatically improve the experience for end users and constituents."
Lightower has steadily built the size of its network in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and some Midwest states. In late April it made a significant addition to its fiber assets through its $1.9 billion acquisition of Fibertech, which gave its enterprise and government customers access to more than 13,000 route miles of fiber as well as over 5,000 towers and 13,000 on-net service locations. The purchase boosted its Midwest presence, vaulting it into several major markets including Indianapolis, Detroit and three Ohio cities: Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
The new contract with the commonwealth of Virginia offers a big competitive leg up as well. With key data centers in the region such as the Ashburn complex, other dark fiber providers are staking their presence in the area. USA Fiber, for example, began building a seven-mile dark fiber ring in Northern Virginia in October which will connect 35-plus data centers -- the first of several network segments it plans to build out in the region. It also established a Potomac River crossing in October and announced an agreement with ByteGrid, a provider serving a number of enterprise and government customers, that creates a dark fiber link with USA Fiber's network.
- see this release
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