Zayo releases a flurry of fiber upgrades

  • Zayo Group released a list of upgrades to its middle-mile fiber infrastructure this week

  • Among them, the company acquired a new fiber route through a secretive "technology partnership"

  • On the heels of its ESG report being released, the company also gave Fierce Network some updates on several projects being funded through its $92.9 million NTIA grant

Zayo Group unveiled a slew of upgrades to its fiber infrastructure this week, including the acquisition of a new long-haul dark fiber route connecting Washington, D.C. and Atlanta.

Zayo acquired the route through a secretive "technology partnership," but Chaz Kramer, Zayo's VP of product management, said the name of the selling company and price tag for the acquisition “aren’t being disclosed."

In things that are being disclosed, the company announced that it built a dark fiber route connecting Columbus, Ohio to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Additionally, Zayo added four routes to its 400G network, including Indianapolis to Columbus; Cut Bank, Montana to Calgary; New Orleans to Ponchatoula in Louisiana; and Grand Rapids to Lansing in Michigan.

As end-user bandwidth keeps expanding, companies need to make sure their networks can handle the surge in traffic. Dell’Oro analyst Jimmy Yu explained that network services are gradually shifting toward 400 Gigabit Ethernet, and leveraging this technology over a 400 Gbps wavelength will be “more efficient and at a better price.”

“I believe all service providers are upgrading their networks to 400+ Gbps wavelengths to meet future bandwidth demands,” Yu told Fierce Network.

In parallel, Zayo is fortifying its IP network by adding 27 new IP points of presence (PoPs) and 400G peering locations across North America. This expansion includes the introduction of 16 new IP PoPs in California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio and Ontario. The company has 11 new 400G IP peering locations set for roll out in 2024 across cities like Toronto, Seattle, Phoenix, Dallas and Chicago.

Telecom service providers build IP PoPs to create physical sites where customers can access their network. Yu said having an IP PoP near or closer to customers and potential customers expands Zayo’s market presence and could generate new business and new streams of revenue.

Zayo drops ESG update

In 2023, Zayo secured a $92.9 million NTIA grant to tackle the digital divide, with the company itself contributing matching funds toward the total grant amount. The grant was featured in Zayo’s recently revealed 2023 Environmental Social Governance (ESG) report.

Zayo's Government Stimulus Team gave Fierce Network some insight into the current status of those grants:

  • Dallas to Atlanta Project: Zayo is working on environmental analysis and pre-construction activities and creating new access points along its 822-mile underground route.
  • Dallas to El Paso Project: Currently in the planning, site acquisition due diligence and environmental assessment phase. Fiber has not been constructed yet. Upon construction, the route will encompass 644 miles of middle mile fiber.
  • Umatilla-Provo-Reno Project: Zayo has started the construction portion of the project and aims to complete in mid-2025. In all, it will build 645 miles of middle mile fiber. 

The ESG report highlighted Zayo’s fiber projects as a sustainable business practice, because fiber is considered by many as “greener” than other technologies, like copper or cable.

Specifically, the Zayo Government Stimulus Team said, “Fiber in general is a green transport medium relative to other mediums like copper."