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Zayo, Windstream and more move forward on network projects

Amid increased demand for bandwidth as 5G rolls out and connectivity becomes a primary focus during the pandemic, a number of network providers have announced upgrades or expansions this week.

Fiber provider Zayo is working on a major deployment of 31 400G long-haul routes across North America and Western Europe, with up to 800G transmission available in some areas.

Zayo said that the availability of 400G client-side wave capabilities will allow it to deliver multi-terabit capacity across its underlying global network and support multi-cloud, multi-market connectivity to serve hyperscalers, content providers, carriers and data centers. The company said that the new routes will provide a fourfold increase in maximum data transfer speed, to meet the demands posed by 5G, IoT, edge computing, high-definition video streaming, virtual reality and more.

The network upgrades also come with a 40% reduction in power consumption, Zayo said, as well as reduced physical space needs. The company didn’t specify where 800G will be available, just that it will be in “select areas as Zayo deploys significant speed enhancements in anticipation of future network needs.”

“400G is rapidly becoming the prevailing requirement for networks and Zayo is breaking new ground with its 800G capabilities,” said Brian Lillie, Zayo’s chief product and technology officer. “This deployment underscores Zayo’s commitment to maintaining the leading edge of communications infrastructure and providing state-of-the art network solutions critical to our customers’ digital transformation journeys.”

Meanwhile, Windstream’s wholesale division said that it has begun the initial work to add fiber to three major transport routes in the Northeast, Southeast and the Midwest. Windstream said that in some cases, the project will involve pulling high-count fibers through existing conduit, and in others, it will mean constructing new fiber paths.

Those routes are: New York City to Albany to Montreal, Canada; Jacksonville, Florida, to Savannah, Georgia, to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to Raleigh, North Carolina; and between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Little Rock, Arkansas, by way of Muskogee, Okla.

In addition, Evansville, Indiana-based fiber service provider MetroNet is expanding its service areas into new states: Wisconsin and Texas. MetroNet will build its first Wisconsin gigabit fiber network in the city of La Crosse: a $12-15 million investment, according to the company. In Texas, MetroNet’s 11th state Wisconsin, bringing Gigabit speed internet to residents and businesses for the first time. Evansville, IN.- based, MetroNet is the nation’s largest independently owned, 100 percent fiber optic provider. The City of La Crosse marks MetroNet’s first city build in Wisconsin. MetroNet will fully fund the construction through a $12 -$15 million investment.

MetroNet says it services more than 100 communities in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio; its announced expansions will bring that total to 11 states.

And there’s also broadband expansion happening in Florida, where the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority (FPUA) will rely on Fujitsu to plan, design and deploy a broadband network expansion that will be part of a neighborhood revitalization effort and promote long-term business growth on the Florida coast. FPUA has provided internet service to some large businesses and and institutions since the early 2000s and in 2018, committed to providing high-speed internet to all parcels within Fort Pierce as part of a plan for it to become a smart city. Fujitsu’s deployment will focus on the revitalization zone of Lincoln Park. The company will be the prime broadband network integrator responsible for the project’s market analysis and business modeling as well as engineering and deployment. Initial service turn-up is expected next year, and the project will include public Wi-Fi in several areas.

“We are making a vital investment in digital equity for one of our community’s most underserved neighborhoods,” said Jason Mittler, FPUAnet manager at the Fort Pierce Utilities Authority.


Kelly Hill
Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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