Vertical Systems Group (VSG) has released its 2017 U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD. And while there are some changes within the rankings thanks to merger activity, AT&T and Verizon maintained their positions at the top of the list.
As its name implies, the VSG LEADERBOARD ranks U.S. retail and wholesale fiber services providers by the number of fiber-lit buildings they serve. The 10 providers who made the list all connected to at least 10,000 buildings at the end of 2017. In fact, they were the only 10 providers to meet that criterion, according to VSG.
Acquisition activity over the past few years helped these companies either make the list or maintain their positions from the previous year (see "Vertical Systems Group: AT&T lands at the top of U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings Leaderboard"). Deals included:
- Verizon's acquisition of XO (see "Verizon to buy XO Communications fiber-optic network assets")
- CenturyLink's merger with Level 3 (see "FCC approval clears path for CenturyLink acquisition of Level 3")
- Crown Castle Fiber made this year's list thanks to its acquisitions of Lightower and operations consolidation with such companies as Sunesys and FiberNet Direct, VSG pointed out. It's acquisition of Wilcon presumably also didn't hurt (see "Crown Castle International to buy Wilcon").
- Zayo's buy of Electric Lightwave (see "Zayo to expand Western U.S. fiber footprint via Electric Lightwave buy")
- Frontier's acquisition of footprint from Verizon (see "Verizon to sell certain wireline assets to Frontier, lease wireless tower rights").
In addition to the top 10 companies, VSG also tracks smaller players that it groups into either the Challenge Tier (between 2,000 and 9,999 U.S. fiber lit commercial buildings) and Market Players (less than 2,000 buildings connected). The former includes Cincinnati Bell, Cleareon, Cogent, Consolidated Communications, FiberLight, FirstLight, IFN, Logix Fiber Networks, Lumos Networks, Unite Private Networks, Uniti Fiber and Windstream. Several of these companies also were active in M&A in 2017. For example, Consolidated Communications acquired Fairpoint and Uniti Fiber acquired Southern Light.
"With fiber footprint expansion in the strategic plans of every major network service provider, we're seeing a significant ramp up in new lit building deployments," said Rosemary Cochran, principal of Vertical Systems Group. "Merger, acquisition and re-branding activity across the fiber provider landscape is so intense that it takes a scorecard to keep track. Nearly every one of this year's Fiber LEADERBOARD and Challenge Tier companies has been impacted by one or more fiber-related transactions in the past year."
Market Player companies includeAlpheus, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Axia, Birch, C Spire, Centracom, Conterra, CTS Telecom, DQE Communications, EnTouch Business, Fatbeam, Fusion Telecom, Google Fiber, GTT, Hawaiian Telecom, Hudson Fiber Network, Hunter Communications, Independents Fiber Network, Infostructure, LS Networks, Mediacom, MetroNet, Monmouth Telecom, Orca Communications, Pilot Fiber, PS Lightwave, Shentel Business, Silver Star Telecom, Spirit Communications, Syringa, TDS Telecom, TPX Communications, U.S. Signal, Veracity, WOW!Business, and others.
VSG defines a "fiber lit building" as a commercial site or data center that has on-net fiber connectivity to a network provider's infrastructure as well as onsite active service termination equipment. Information for the LEADERBOARD comes from the market research firm's Fiber Lit Buildings analysis. The company offers metrics, fiber provider profiles, and analysis to its ENS Research Program subscribers of @Fiber Plus.
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