Zayo’s Jones: We're 'doubling down' in existing dark fiber markets

As Zayo Group continues to expand its dark fiber network to more customers, the near-term focus will be on finding ways to leverage and extend existing builds to satisfy different needs in its footprint.

Dave Jones, EVP of dark fiber services for Zayo, told FierceTelecom that while the service provider will look for opportunities to grow its fiber network into new markets, enhancing existing builds allows it to gain new contracts with current customers, but also new customers that are along the path of the fiber.

“We’re continuing to look at opportunities to grow the network in new markets, but probably the bigger focus is on doubling down and getting greater depth in our existing markets,” Jones said. “With the majority of our existing markets being NFL cities and smaller markets, we’re going deep in each markets and leveraging those investments.”

Jones added that while it’s not ruling out new builds, “the focus has shifted now that we have these good footprints in place or being deployed over the next few years it creates a lot of opportunities for us.”

The service provider continues to see growing interest in dark fiber from a host of customer sets, including a mix of wireless operators, and increasingly school districts and health care providers.

One example of the leverage-and-extend strategy was seen with the recent fiber to the tower (FTTT) deal Zayo won with a major wireless operator to extend its dark fiber facilities to over 1,800 cell sites in 26 markets.

As part of this agreement, Zayo will leverage the existing FTTT networks it is going to build out in those markets. This will enable Zayo to reduce capital costs to satisfy the wireless customer’s need to increase coverage and capacity.

“The FTTT deal we announced last week is a good example of this trend,” Jones said. “It is the biggest single mobile infrastructure deal we have signed to date and we’re going deeper in 20 of the markets where we’re already present.”

Jones added that the remaining six markets are ones where it had not previously built out a FTTT network, but it had remaining network facilities to serve other customers.

“The other six  markets are existing markets where we have other types of businesses there, so none of those are greenfield builds for us -- that bodes well to leverage that existing investment for good results for the customer and our financials,” Jones said.

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