Deep Edge ramps up data center builds in booming broadband era

Deep Edge is seeking to build more interconnection facilities across the U.S., especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets as new opportunities are driven by a surge in rural broadband spend.

This week the company completed construction of a interconnection data center in Charlotte, North Carolina in a first step toward its planned multi-phase expansion. The carrier-neutral data center will add more capacity to the company’s existing facility that connects long-haul and regional fiber networks from AT&T, Charter Communications, Lumen, Zayo Group and Verizon.

As more fiber pops up in smaller markets through funding like the $42.5 billion Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) program, “there’s more opportunities to reach those customers,” said Chuck Corcoran, head of operations for Deep Edge. “We're trying to get closer to the customer and respond quickly to our customers’ needs in those markets.”

Deep Edge’s customers include internet service providers (ISPs) and hyperscalers that need to connect to long-haul and regional networks. Corcoran noted Deep Edge is also considering a play with content providers that want to be closer to their subscribers. One impetus for the company's expansion, he said, is providing its customers in smaller markets with the amount of power necessary to work with emerging tech like artificial intelligence (AI).

As the need for interconnections continues to grow in Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets, traditional data center designs “are not built to accommodate the growing, specific requirements for latency and power, as well as the flexibility needed by today’s applications and the companies that leverage them to drive business forward,” said Deep Edge Chairman Bill Cook in a statement.

The Charlotte location specifically is a Tier 3 data center interconnect facility with redundant 2N power and N+1 cooling infrastructure, and includes managed data center suites, onsite connections to redundant utility grids and a secure Meet-Me-Room (MMR).

A MMR is a physical space within a data center or facility where different network service providers, carriers and customers can interconnect their networks. It serves as a central point for facilitating the exchange of data traffic between various networks.

Corcoran said the company built the data center right next to the MMR, “where all those carriers come together, so its connectivity for our customers in the data center. And we built fiber pathways so they can easily connect to any one of those providers that they would like.”

The Charlotte site is the first data center Deep Edge is “officially launching.” The company in an announcement called the Charlotte facility expansion “the roadmap on which the company looks to model all its markets over time,” including planned construction for its existing facilities in Portland, Maine; Reno, Nevada; and Columbus, Ohio.

“And we’re looking to expand to additional markets,” Corcoran told Fierce.

New markets will need power availability and multiple carriers that would want to connect to a Deep Edge facility. Lead time to secure that kind of power can be “a long time,” according to Corcoran, who said as an example, "in Northern Virginia, if you're trying to get power now, you're not getting power for a couple of years.”

Deep Edge is also “talking to our potential customers in other markets and figuring out where they want to be,” he said. “So that'll narrow down our market selection.”