Dish signs fiber deals with Zayo, Uniti and others

Dish Network secured fiber deals for backhaul and fronthaul transport to support its planned nationwide 5G network, inking agreements with Everstream, Segra, Uniti, and Zayo.

The announcement said Dish is getting access to fiber that spans coast-to-coast, connecting to sites that cover around 60 million people.

Zayo Group CEO Steve Smith in a statement said that it was proud to leverage Zayo’s “deep, dense metro and long-haul fiber networks.”

Zayo has an extensive global fiber network consisting of 13 million fiber miles that span 133,000 route miles, including metro networks in major markets across the U.S., as well as footprints in Canada and Western Europe.

"Zayo is excited to partner with DISH as they establish the framework for 5G, helping to set the standard for completely seamless wireless networks that will enable the disruptive technologies which will shape our future - including IoT, smart cities, connected vehicles and more," Smith stated.

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Dish will use Everstream in the Midwest, throughout the fiber provider’s current and expansion markets.

“We are thrilled that our proven track record of building, installing and maintaining backhaul and fronthaul cellular networks will serve a strategic role as Dish becomes the country’s fourth facilities-based wireless provider,” said Everstream president and CEO Brett Lindsey in a statement.

Earlier this month, Everstream announced it was purchasing fiber network assets from Uniti, the latter which is also a newly named fiber partner for Dish. The deal between Uniti and Everstream added 5,600 rout miles to the latter’s network, with new routes spanning Pennsylvania including metro markets of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia – increasing the fiber footprint by around 35%.

Uniti CEO and president Kenny Gunderman said in a statement that the company “has worked diligently with Dish to develop a partnership that will provide strategic value to both parties.”

Dish will leverage Uniti’s existing fiber infrastructure, which as of the end of September included 6.7 million owned fiber strand miles, “to support Dish’s 5G deployment over the next several years.”  

Segra is one of Dish’s fiber transport partners that will help build out the 5G network “throughout the Mid-Atlantic and southeast regions of the U.S.,” Segra CEO Tim Blitz said in the announcement.

“Segra’s extensive fiber network provides the capacity, scalability and reliability to deliver advanced fiber-based solutions to power Dish’s 5G network for years to come,” Blitz stated.

Segra’s network spans 30,000 fiber-route miles and 1 million fiber-strand miles.

With fiber providers on board, Dish has added more building blocks for its greenfield build of a nationwide cloud-native open RAN 5G network. The four announced today join the roster of vendors tapped as Dish works toward network coverage buildout deadlines over the next several years. It expects to have 5G running in its first major market by the third quarter of 2021.

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Along with radio, software suppliers, and others Dish just this month inked its first major tower infrastructure deal in an agreement with Crown Castle for up to 20,000 tower sites. That deal also includes fiber backhaul services, something the tower company has signaled was an important factor in being a partner to Dish.  

"The fiber agreements with Everstream, Segra, Uniti and Zayo are critical to helping DISH build our 5G network more quickly and cost-effectively than legacy deployments," said Jeff McSchooler, Dish EVP of wireless network operations. "Today's announcement marks an important milestone in DISH's deployment process, adding to our strong roster of industry-leading tower, radio, software and now fiber vendors."