RCN Business plans to pursue new near-net fiber business opportunities in 2016

RCN Business, like other business-centric providers, has traditionally taken the approach of directing its fiber investments where its customers want it to go, but the service provider plans to target other attractive sites where it could win new customers.  

Having already built out a 6,000-mile fiber network that it continues to expand, RCN Business could potentially extend that fiber to address so-called near-net opportunities that exist near its fiber.  

Mike Carrosquilla, SVP of commercial services at RCN Business, said in an interview with FierceTelecom that the next step for the service provider will be to target potential buildings and markets that have attractive customer prospects.

Interestingly, this is a different method than RCN Business has traditionally embarked upon where it needed to initially prove an ROI before extending facilities to new locations.

"What you're going to see -- and hopefully we'll start to see sooner rather than later this year -- is us being less risk averse in regards to buildings that we want to go into and attack and having much more of a grab the territory and sell product into that territory," Carrosquilla said. "We know that when we get into the building we're going to have our piece of the pie so let's just get in the building and go even if we're not going to have an immediate ROI on it."

But even with this process in place, the service provider will still face the common problem of negotiating with landlords and property owners to get access to buildings.

"Whether you call near net or near lit opportunities, the challenge becomes addressing the building ownership to say we want in," Carrosquilla said. "You have to negotiate all those access agreements, but when you look at our fiber plant and the buildings they pass by it is really a matter of picking the ones you want to be in, negotiating access agreements with the buildings and getting into the building."

It's hard not to notice how RCN Business has expanded its on-net fiber footprint, particularly in large metro areas like New York City and New Jersey.

In recent years, RCN Business has been extending its fiber network to a number of key sites.

Take New York City and New Jersey. In New York City, the service provider has extended fiber to various key business-related buildings and data centers, including the Empire State Building, 325 Hudson meet me room, and 450-460 Park Avenue in Manhattan.

Likewise, in New Jersey RCN Business has established a recent relationship with dark fiber provider Cross River Fiber where both providers will be able to expand their network presence in New York and New Jersey.

Being part of the broader RCN that also serves residential customers with cable services, the service provider has followed a similar approach other larger carriers like AT&T to multitask its fiber deployments to satisfy multiple customer sets.

Such a strategy should not be all that surprising since RCN along with Texas-based Grande are amongst the remaining cable and fiber overbuilders that emerged in the mid-1990s.

"We're fortunate that we do expansion naturally as part of our business," Carrosquilla said. "As our residential part of our business grows our commercial footprint grows with it.

Carrosquilla added that "when you're expanding the residential business you're just not putting in small count fiber to a node you're laying multi-count fiber out there because we do construction every day."

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