Verizon Wireless' dark fiber push for backhaul is a blessing and a curse for wholesalers

Verizon Wireless' (NYSE: VZ) push to use dark fiber as its wireless backhaul medium has both positive and negative aspects, according many wholesale service providers serving the wireless industry. Dark fiber allows wireless carriers to maintain complete control over their service experience, meaning if they want to increase capacity they can do it on their own timeline.

A group of service providers representing the competitive and incumbent telco market, including FairPoint Communications, PEG Bandwidth and LSN, addressed the dark fiber issue during a panel in Dallas at the Comptel Plus Fall event. Dark fiber networks are often privately owned, and only data owned or managed by the network's owner travels across that network. Dark fiber networks are often used by financial entities especially in automated trading to both provide security and super-fast data transport.

For its part, FairPoint said it only dabbles in the dark fiber market. As a traditional ILEC, FairPoint has followed its ILEC peers in preferring to sell traditional lit Ethernet and wavelength services--the telco prefers the monthly revenue stream it gets with the managed services it provides. But PEG Bandwidth, which emerged in 2009 as one of the early wireless backhaul specialists, has agreed to provide dark fiber to wireless operators, albeit slightly reluctantly. Article

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