UPN lights 100th cell site with dark fiber, sees ongoing small cell backhaul growth

Unite Private Networks (UPN) has extended dark fiber services to its 100th cell site in Iowa for a large wireless operator.

Fiber expansion continues to be a priority for UPN. The company plans to add over 1,500 miles of new fiber throughout its footprint by the end of this year.

A key element of its fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) expansion is to support the wireless industry's ongoing movement towards small cells. The company said it is providing backhaul for small cell deployments in a number of states, including Texas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Colorado.

Chad Senglaub, COO of UPN, said in a release that it is supporting "Cloud-Ran (C-RAN) and other small cell architectures," two elements that have been gaining interest from a growing number of wireless operators.

Similar to Zayo's mobile infrastructure division, UPN has also come to the realization that providing fiber-based backhaul is just one element of a larger solution set it can provide to wireless operators. It recently launched a turnkey small cell product which includes site acquisition, construction, dark fiber transport and ongoing maintenance of small cells.

Having a turnkey product set dedicated to small cells will provide benefits for UPN and its wireless customers alike. For UPN it means that they can differentiate themselves from other wholesale providers that only provide dark fiber and lit services, while wireless operators can hand off the management of their small cell rollouts to another party so they can dedicate internal resources to other functions.   

Wireless backhaul has been one of UPN's priorities. Earlier this year, the service provider secured a $273 million credit facility to support its ongoing fiber network expansions in both Nebraska and Iowa and fiber-to-the-tower (FTTT) deployments for a number of large national wireless operators that have chosen UPN as one of their backhaul suppliers.

For more:
- see the release

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