US round-up: Ting to deploy Gigabit broadband; Verizon deploys 200Gbps technology between Boston and NY; Zayo, Spirit line up rural deals

19 Dec 2014

Ting, which currently operates as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using Sprint Corp’s network, has confirmed that it has purchased a majority stake in a small, independent internet service provider (ISP) in Charlottesville, Virginia, called Blue Ridge InternetWorks (BRI). Going forward, Ting parent company Tucows intends to use the ISP to deploy a 1Gbps-capable, fibre-to-the-home network, which is likely to pass around 12,000 homes in 1Q15. An official company blog post reads: ‘We’re excited to help Charlottesville join the ranks of Provo, Utah, Burlington, Vermont, Lafayette, Louisiana and Omaha, Nebraska among other small towns and bustling cities that offer super-fast internet access to their residents and local businesses … We admire what Google is doing with and for Gigabit fibre internet access, but for the Internet giant, access is more of a side project. Also, Google is a lot of great things but human scale isn’t one of them. If a smaller, more customer-focused company player like Ting can pull off a win-win in a community like Charlottesville, it bodes really well for small towns and providers all over the country.’ In terms of MVNO user numbers, Ting closed September 2014 with 82,000 customers using 130,000 devices. Going forward, parent Tucows, a Toronto-based internet solutions firm, expects to add around 16,000 new Ting customers per quarter.

Verizon Communications has announced that it has ‘completed a first office application (FOA) of 200G technology’, in conjunction with vendor partner Ciena Corp. The 200Gbps infrastructure, which stretches around 200 miles between Boston and New York, utilises the vendor’s WaveLogic coherent optic technology. Verizon previously trialled Ciena’s 200Gbps technology between the two points last year.

Colorado-based Zayo Group has announced the acquisition of IdeaTek Systems, a fibre operator based in Buhler, Kansas. With its acquisition of IdeaTek, Zayo will add 1,800 miles of cabling and 600 cell towers to the firm’s Kansas holdings, which includes the dense metro market in Wichita. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

Spirit Communications, which is owned by a group of independent telephone companies in the Palmetto State, is purchasing SCANA Communications from SCANA Corp. SCANA Communications owns and operates a 1,125-mile fibre-optic network, and also provides tower site construction, management and rental services in the Carolinas and Tennessee. The sale is expected to close by 31 March 2015.

And finally, Atlanta-based Southern Telecom, the telecom subsidiary of electric utility Southern Company, has announced an expansion of its dark fibre network in Atlanta, Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama. Southern Telecom is adding 43 miles of dark fibre cable to its existing network around Atlanta bringing the total to 128 miles supporting 40 buildings.

United States, Ciena Corporation, Ting, Verizon Communications, Zayo Group