XO invades CenturyLink's turf by extending fiber into 100 Salt Lake City buildings

XO Communications has completed the expansion of its on-net fiber building reach project in the Salt Lake City area with the addition of nearly 100 new buildings, making it a more competitive threat to area incumbent telco CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL).

With this buildout complete, a process that includes a $5 million investment, the service provider can now serve over 800 businesses in more than 300 multi-tenant buildings in the Salt Lake City area with its set of IP-based Ethernet, voice and network services.

Chris Ancell, CEO of XO said in a release that "building managers benefit from our direct fiber connections because, as an alternative service provider, XO helps attract and retain tenants that require high-speed connectivity" over its own network.

One customer that's seen the benefit of this rollout is Ken Garff Automotive Group, one of the largest car dealerships in Utah, which has connected XO's fiber network to seven of its Utah locations. In addition to Utah, the car dealer is installing the CLEC's fiber connections to other locations it serves in California, Texas, Nevada, Michigan, and Iowa.

By having greater on-net fiber availability in Salt Lake City, XO will be able to better challenge CenturyLink, which has been aggressively rolling out symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber-based services to area medium sized businesses that reside in multi-tenant unit (MTU) office buildings. The telco said during its second quarter earnings call that it would make GPON services available to another 25,000 businesses by the end of the year.

Salt Lake City is just one element of a broader strategy XO began in 2014 to invest up to $500 million to grow its nationwide network.

Over the past year, the service provider has completed fiber construction projects into nearly 550 enterprise buildings across 25 regional markets. XO has established direct connections in buildings in 11 other cities and regions: Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Denver, Southern California, San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest and other urban areas.   

Ancell said that throughout 2016, XO plans to add more on-net fiber connections "to certain buildings that are within proximity of the XO high density fiber and Ethernet network."

Having fiber access into more buildings gives XO more leverage and a competitive advantage to deliver higher speed Ethernet services to more customers, as well as the ability to more effectively control the customer experience. Providing fiber in more buildings is fast becoming a key element to delivering carrier Ethernet to businesses and increasing access to high speed IP/MPLS VPN services, cloud and Internet connectivity, and wireless backhaul applications.

Service providers that participated in a Vertical Systems Group survey said that expanding the reach of their fiber network was a primary growth challenge for 2015 and beyond. Fiber penetration into buildings continues ramp, rising from 10.9 percent in 2004 to over 42 percent in 2014, according to the research group's latest figures.

For more:
- see the release

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