For fiber today, it is all about 3 things: exclusive route, low-latency and data center access.
We see a number of fiber operators talking about low latency routes now, something that AboveNet was already capitalizing on - that and its unique (non CO-based) network design.
"Zayo Group announces it is enhancing its low latency service between Seattle and Chicago." In addition, Zayo added 60 miles in Richmond that will connect to a data center campus. Data centers need fiber. Apparently, they also need low-latency routes, which, by the way, means staying on one carriers network end-to-end.
Sidera is offering ultra-low-latency fiber in Toronto, NYC and London.
Exclusive routes are the key to high margins. When you have a route, say, from Chicago to NYC, there are a number of carriers, so it becomes a commodity, unless there are differentiating factors, like low-latency or diverse paths. A number of fiber providers, like FiberLight, have been building out their network. This gives them reach and, in some cases, exclusive fiber paths.
To that point, Lightower Fiber Networks has announced a new 21-mile network expansion n Providence, Rhode Island. Lightower is also expanding its existing colo facility in RI. (Who knew RI had a data center?) In February, "Lightower Fiber Networks opened a new office at 101 Eisenhower Parkway in Roseland, New Jersey. The office will support the increasing demand that Lightower is experiencing in the region for end-to-end fiber networking."
Data center space is just exploding. Most of that growth is due to more cloud services, more data storage, and the pervasive utilization of IT by companies big and small.
To wit, the Palm Beach area of Florida is getting some new data centers. "Both Equinix and Peer 1 are set to open up in Blue Lake in Boca Raton in a few months and they will dominate the Palm Beach market which previously only had Host.net," according to S. Chris Palermo of GCN, a telecom agency that specializes in data centers. Cloud South took over a data center that was designed and built by Global Crossing in 2003 on 424 Hampton Road, West Palm Beach, FL. "Enterprise Florida, the official economic development organization for the State of Florida, reports South Florida as among the world's Top 5 Internet gateways." That explains the Miami NAP and the numerous data centers in the Miami-Ft. Lauderdale corridor. Host.Net is an established player in South Florida with a data center in Boca Raton and another in Ft. Lauderdale (the old Hostway and Affinity Internet/ValueWeb space). Host.Net also owns WV Fiber, which gives them up to 10GB of connectivity across the US and Internationally. Most data centers can not claim that.
Owning the network is a security benefit, according to this video from PEER1
And in a last nugget of news: "Data centre solution provider Digital Realty Trust has entered into a joint venture with Savvis, a cloud infrastructure and IT solutions company, to provide next generation, large co-location and managed cloud services to Hong Kong," according to LBO.
Data centers are booming. Cloud services are taking off. Do you still want to stand on the sidelines?