Lumos employs Cisco for its Project Ark wireless backhaul initiative

Lumos Networks has taken the next step with its ambitious Project Ark fiber to the cell site (FTTC) initiative, announcing that it has selected Cisco's routers for its supporting IP/MPLS network.

The service provider will deploy Cisco's ASR 9912 routers in four cities, including: Ashburn, Va., Pittsburgh, Pa., Roanoke, Va., and Charleston, W.Va.

Craig Drinkhall, CTO of Lumos Networks, said that besides network equipment, Cisco will supply Lumos with two R&D labs that will offer IP training and access to a number of provisioning and monitoring tools.

It expects to begin building the first phase of the Project Ark network in the second quarter of this year and complete it in the third quarter. During that time, Lumos said it expects to begin routing traffic from the newly installed FTTC sites onto the "Ark network" in the fourth quarter of 2014 and that existing FTTC traffic will be migrated to the "Ark network" in early 2015.

Through Project Ark, Lumos has set a goal to connect nearly 200 more wireless tower sites to its fiber network this year.

While the network is designed to initially support wireless backhaul, it will be available to a number of select large enterprise customers.

Project Ark has been built to provide total bandwidth of about one terabyte and is built to handle FTTC traffic from 1,500 sites on Carrier Ethernet from an average of 1.5 tenants per site and 400 Mbps of throughput at each cell site.

Wireless backhaul has become a cash cow for Lumos Networks. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the telco reported that wireless backhaul revenues rose sequentially to $16.1 million.

All of this is supported by an aggressive buildout strategy. As of the end of 2013, the service provider had a total of 608 connected FTTC sites, up 68 percent sequentially and 64 percent year-over-year.

For more:
- see the release

On the hot seat: Biltz: Lumos' focus on customers key to its transformation to a fiber-centric provider

Related articles:
Lumos to add 200 wireless towers to fiber network in 2014
Lumos Q4 strategic data revenue jumps 11.3% to $31.2M, offsets legacy voice losses
Lumos steps up focus on connecting towers to fiber
Lumos lights metro Ethernet in Richmond, expands Western Pa. fiber upgrade