WOW! Wholesale increases near-net fiber building footprint in 18 markets

WOW! Wholesale, a division of WOW! Business, has laid a foundation to enhance its on-net fiber building footprint by pursuing a near-net fiber strategy that brings fiber close to desirable building locations in its footprint.

Through its near-net fiber program, WOW! Wholesale will provide access to more commercial buildings in 18 Midwest and Southeast markets, including Augusta, Ga., Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Huntsville, Ala., Knoxville, Tenn., St. Petersburg, Fla., and 11 other metropolitan areas.

Mike Harry, SVP of business services for WOW! Business, told FierceTelecom the two divisions are targeting buildings that are close by its fiber and associated splicing points. This will enable the service provider to quickly build a lateral connection into the buildings where it sees good interest from customers.

"When we were talking about near net buildings, we're talking about buildings that are within x number of feet of our fiber plant," Harry said. "The X number is less than 1,000 feet and buildings we identified through GIS mapping."

The service will have direct implications for WOW!'s wholesale and business arms.

Jim Greene, director of WOW! Wholesale, told FierceTelecom that they came up with a system to scope out what are the most desirable buildings to connect to its fiber network.

"We took a number of databases, dovetailed them together, and reviewed the information where the greatest demand is going to be as a coefficient from the distance from the network," Greene said. "Obviously, we want to be where we can serve customers and the customer type that are going to have the greatest demand for the bandwidth."  

For its wholesale customers, WOW! Wholesale hopes to help them serve existing and new customers that need access into the buildings the cable MSO will serve with this fiber.

"In particular our carrier customers can take advantage of this from not only a new business standpoint but also their embedded base to see where that embedded base is going," Greene said. "Many folks we speak to now say that 10 Mbps is the new T1 and 10 Gbps is the new DS3 so we're preparing our customer base for this transition."

The service provider is also simplifying the pricing schedule for on-net and near-net building opportunities.

"We have one pricing schedule for on-net buildings that will also apply to these near-net buildings," Greene said. "In essence we have forward-priced the building to be on net and with an order we'll be lighting the building."

Harry said that being able to target buildings close to its fiber allows WOW! to be flexible with its pricing structure.

"That's where the distance comes in that's critical because it allows us from a construction standpoint to be comfortable to create the on-net pricing structure for those buildings that will require some construction and capital to get into them," Harry said.

Already, WOW! Wholesale has started to implement its near-net fiber strategy by extending its fiber network to a number of buildings near Wacker Drive in the downtown Chicago's central business district and 17 other cities in the markets it serves in the Midwest and Southeast.

By establishing fiber-based network points-of-presence in hundreds of commercial buildings near its own metro Ethernet networks, WOW! can expand the addressable market for its service provider customers, along with increasing new business opportunities through WOW! Business direct and indirect sales channels.

Additionally, the company expects to better leverage its local fiber assets by driving more broadband traffic onto its metro Ethernet networks.

WOW! currently owns and operates more than 40,000 miles of local fiber‐optic and coaxial networks in the Midwest, Mid‐Atlantic and Southeast.

For more:
- see the release

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