Expensive Dark Fiber Becoming Cheap Lit Fiber

from the bandwidth-boost dept

During the last telco bubble, which was pretty closely related to the dot com bubble, one of the big speculative areas concerned just how much bandwidth was going to be needed — leading to a number of companies spending billions on laying fiber optic cables all over the world. Of course, like plenty of other big infrastructure plays (remember Iridium?), these are incredibly risky ventures. You have to judge the market right, have the technology work properly and get the timing right — all in a way to make sure you can get a return on a tremendous capital outlay. In the case of all this fiber, much of it has been laying “dark” over the last few years — allowing some companies to snap it up cheaply (again, similar to Iridium). Of course, unlike Iridium, it seemed pretty obvious that eventually bandwidth needs would increase, and that dark fiber would become pretty handy. Om Malik reports that more and more dark fiber is being lit up, and the “bandwidth glut” is starting to decrease. There’s even talk of laying more fiber across the Pacific. Still, it is interesting to see yet another case where a speculative boom funded the infrastructure that later becomes quite useful for pennies on the dollar. Update: And just like that, Level 3 has snapped up ICG’s fiber.

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Comments on “Expensive Dark Fiber Becoming Cheap Lit Fiber”

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Rhett says:

Who on earth needs 100mbps?…or even 45 unless you’re a company? Find a website that will send its site to you at that speed…good luck. It’s like owning a Lamborgini, it goes 200+mph, but I can’t drive it that fast anywhere.

Want to raise speeds? Stop using your cell phone as a primary phone for your house. The local phone companies lose money that way…they own the infrastructure. and when you don’t give them minutes, the universal service fund doesn’t get replenished and they can’t afford upgrades.

However, I have 45 mbps at home and work, and i could do all of the same things on 7 or 8 mbps. Greedy Telecos? how about greedy consumers.

txjump says:

Re: Rhett

Who on earth needs 100mbps?…

remember the day when people said, “Who on earth needs a 1 gig hard drive”. … uhm… times change and if you make it available, people WILL FIND WAYS to use it.

and when the phone company can give me a POT without the all the add ons or forcing me into a “package steal” (oops deal) then i will get a line again. i actually want one but i refuse to pay those prices for services i dont want or need.

and yes, i work in the telecom industry.

Chris says:

Re: Re:

Bit off topic, but about the car… Unless you’re a tool or a rap star, if you spend that kind of money on a car you also buy track time, join the SCCA, the owner’s club, etc. etc. And in those cases you can drive the car properly. Of corse most people buy Lamborghinis to impress, not to drive. It’s a pig of a car really. Much better to have a vintage Ferrari in my opinion.

I’m not sure what individuals would buy 100mbps connections for or who they would impress. Though a few years down the road I can see wanting 100mbps to download a high definition movie off of iTunes.

g. thomas furgerson says:

More bandwidth buy no increase in upload speed for

Yeah, great more bandwidth, but until they make it symetric, it won’t be a big deal. None of the ISPs, or Telecoms or Big Media want the user to be able to “serve” from home. Basically, no home storefronts without paying a hefty rent to them, even though, like your water and sewer, what comes in, should go out at the same speed, or it all ends up shitty for the consumer.

Paul M says:

it's not the cost of the fibre!

the major cost of putting in trunk links over long distances whether over land or sea is not the cost of the fibre itself, it’s the cost of laying trenches, or getting the fibre into a safe place on the sea bed; and then there’s the amplifiers.

thus, when the specialist companies who spool cables do it, it’s always worth putting many more fibres in than will be necessary, especially to ensure that if there’s damage you’ll hav redundancy.

Anonymous Coward says:


Greedy customer for not paying for crappy service and using a service that ties communication to a person rather than a dwelling?

How can you boo hoo someone who sees a better value per dollar?

I work in telco, and see this attitude all the time. The attitude itself will soon be extinct due to the fact that wireless is making leaps and bounds and the old “We have the pipe what’re you gonna do about it” mentality is going to put my company out of business…

smokebreak says:

To All This Bandwith Deboggle

You say no use for 100Mbit up/down streams…..I say Bah! I could use every bit of it and still desire more. I’ve always said I’d love a t-3 connection, and my fleet of outdated dinosaurs could tear it up……..but oh, I’ve also been told that I couldn’t make my friends top of the line 64 bit processor computer with 4 gigs of ram bog down either.

Give me the power and I’ll put it to good use….oh, but that would put me on the RIAA radar though Doh!!!!!

TheMajor says:

The Sticks

Try living in a Co-op area…F#$ked doesn’t even begin to describe the raping these highly protected monopolies do every day. Try this….$35 for a POTS line, caller id will cost you an extra $5 per month. $69 for 756K/128K DSL (if you live close to a relay) I’m lucky if I get 400K down. They close at 4pm every day and tech support….my 4 year old knows more about computers. I miss civilization…I think I’ll move back….

Dreamstarter says:

Telco vs 100MBps

Telco have been slow in catching up with the rest of the world and with technology period, they are a few steps ahead of the goverment. Problem is that they have been kept back and not allowed to grow further for to long. 100mb maybe to much, but it would not be to difficult to create a wide ranged network nation wide to allow 100mb at flat rate, much like having insurance to drive, if you live in a house/apartment/etc, BOOM, broadband included. much like broadband over powerlines. It will happen, but only at their pace.

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