Internet Networks are in growth mode as profits and margins improve. WSJ has a post on growth in metro markets.
Fiber-Optic Networks Regain Some Glow
Data Traffic Turns Regional Operators Into Buyout Targets
After the telecom bubble burst a decade ago, fiber was a dirty word.
Finding Fiber | A look at local providers
Zayo Group manages about 21,500 route miles of fiber in 146 markets across the U.S., including Philadelphia.
Zayo has purchased a series of smaller fiber companies, including American Fiber Systems, Memphis Networx and Columbia Fiber Solutions.
Lightower Fiber Networks, which operates a network in Boston and other Northeast cities, has about 5,500 route miles of fiber.
Lightower, which was spun off by utility National Grid and backed by private-equity firms, has bought five other fiber companies since 2008.
Now, the fiber-optic network business is enjoying a resurgence, particularly for metro fiber, the high-capacity lines that connect a city's office buildings, data centers and cellular towers to the Internet.
There have been 14 acquisitions in the industry this year alone and 45 since the fiber market began its turnaround in 2006, according to investment bank Cowen & Co.
"There's a shortage of metro fiber, and the demand is just going through the roof," said Rob Shanahan, chief executive of Lightower Fiber Networks, a fiber company serving the Northeast that has acquired five other companies since 2008.
CNET news has a photo essay on an Alcatel-Lucent undersea cable ship.
Aboard an Alcatel-Lucent undersea cable ship (photos)
September 5, 2010 6:00 AM PDT
This is one of Alcatel-Lucent's repeaters, which are used to amplify the signal at various points along the cable. This repeater, a model from two years ago, has a throughput of around 1.5 terabits per second.
The project highlighted is an Africa cable.
Philippe Dumont is in charge of Alcatel-Lucent's submarine network business. The market for such deployments, he said, has remained "quite stable" over the last couple of recessionary years, which "came as quite a surprise" to Alcatel-Lucent.
Dumont said the biggest cabling project in the world right now is Africa, but the connectivity being deployed there will be quite different from what people in the U.K. are used to. "Access to the Internet in Africa is mostly based on mobile," he said. "You will not see DSL, but you will see mobile broadband through smartphones and USB dongles."