SummitIG continues to ramp dark fiber reach into data centers, businesses

SummitIG, an emerging dark fiber provider, is making progress with its network build, adding new metro and long-haul underground fiber routes and increasing its on-net penetration into new businesses and data center locations.

Since founding the company in 2012, the service provider has installed 280 miles of underground metro and 170 miles of long-haul dark fiber.

A big portion of its targets include the densely populated infrastructure routes in Northern Virginia stretching from what is known as Data Center Alley in Loudoun County to Reston, Va., and from greater Vienna and Tysons Corner commercial districts to developing data center areas of Prince William County. 

"With the 170 miles that we built last year with long-haul, our network in Northern Virginia was probably about 125 miles and we're up to 250 in the metro that goes from Loudon County all the way down to the McLean/Tysons area and out to the West in Haymarket and Manassas area," said Bill Cook, CEO of SummitIG in an interview with FierceTelecom. "Most of it is diverse from any other provider that's out there and we're putting in multiple conduits with big fat cables and the smallest cable we're putting in is a 432 cable with everything else being 864."

Late last year, the company activated a 170-mile regional long-haul network connecting Northern Virginia to the greater Richmond area south of the Capital Region.

In tandem with enhancing its long-haul and metro fiber routes, SummitIG has increased its on-net building reach by 150 percent since 2014 to a mix of over 45 traditional businesses and major data center locations.

"We have seen great pickup and since last year we were really ramping up the team and turning on the spout to get customers on board the network," said Sunny Kumar, chief commercial officer for SummitIG. "Last year we were up at 16-18 on-net buildings and now we're up to 45 on-net buildings across the Northern Virginia footprint."

On the data center front, SummitIG has been making connections with a number of the area's 60 top data center provider such as Equinix, DRT, Dupont Fabros and Raging Wire.

Looking forward, Kumar said that is being proactive to build out its dark fiber to serve data center providers.

"As you peel back the envelope on what the next tier of data centers you want to be in we know the locations we want to connect to so we're taking a proactive approach to that next level of data centers that we want to be in and that's the expansion we did down into Reston, down into Vienna and some of the things we're seeing in Manassas," Kumar said. "Those were all kind of proactive and the Tier 3 type data centers are where we'll be a bit more success-based."

While data centers are a big portion of its business, SummitIG is seeing growing interest from traditional businesses for dark fiber.  

By attracting a host of data centers, carriers and enterprises, SummitIG's revenues rose 650 percent over the past year.

"A lot of those buildings are data centers, you are seeing an appetite for commercial buildings for dark fiber to come in," Kumar said. "We're definitely seeing the customers thirst, or hunger, for dark fiber [that] is readily available and they don't have to fight the telco on capacity limitations because they can use the dark fiber to manage the networks as they see fit."

Having this amount of available fiber and connections make it a competitive threat to incumbent providers, while giving it a head start over new competitors like USA FIBER, which is also building a dark fiber network in the area. The service provider just launched a new dark fiber lease program for its new Ashburn, Va., location that enables clients to connect to up to 35 data centers across a single pair for a flat monthly recurring fee, for example.

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