Dark fiber is a growing business for both private and publicly owned networks. Data transport, data centers, ILECs, and CLECs are some of the most common users. Increasingly, wireless providers are turning to dark fiber for backhaul.
A May Fierce Telecom article reports that 14 percent of Zayo's wireless backhaul services are dark fiber solutions:
"We're seeing a shift with wireless backhaul contracts to dark fiber to the tower and we're starting to see that show up as the trend over the last couple of quarters," [Chairman and CEO Dan] Caruso said … "And you see it more pronounced in the current quarter where 14 percent of our product mix for fiber to the tower is dark fiber to the tower and you see that's grown and taken on a bigger piece of the pie."
Dark fiber leases have played an important role in developing revenue for municipalities that have invested in fiber infrastructure. Dark fiber leasing can be the only option in places where state barriers limit local options.
Santa Monica, Columbia in Missouri, and Maryland's Howard County, are only a few communities that lease dark fiber to ISPs and other commercial customers. A few networks, including Metronet Zing in Indiana, offer only dark fiber services. It is worth noting that, as Santa Monica discovered, the vast majority of businesses and residents prefer and easy, affordable, and reliable lit service rather than dark fiber. But the dark fiber niche is growing.
As more customers look for the service, negotiating leases and pricing models can be challenging. Municipal networks seeking guidance can start with a 2012 report from CTC Technology & Energy, Dark Fiber Lease Considerations [PDF].
The report covers pricing models, various methods for pricing dark fiber, and offers some...Read more