Tower Cloud, whose fiber network in the southeastern US was built for mobile backhaul, is now getting into business services. The company announced Monday its first Ethernet private line services at speeds ranging from 50 Mbit/s to 100 Gbit/s.
The move comes because the company was seeing the end of the mobile backhaul "land grab" and looking for other ways to monetize its substantial fiber networking assets, says George Townsend, SVP-business development for Tower Cloud Inc. .
"The first things we are going to roll out are the new private Ethernet services and wave services on a point-to-point, point-to-multipoint basis in the southeastern markets," he says. "We think 100 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s will be the sweet spot for businesses that need connectivity back to the major markets for some of their sites."
Because Tower Cloud has dense fiber connectivity built deep into the network, including in many rural areas of the southeast US, the company believes it is in good position to serve customers such as the education market up to the university level, the healthcare market with distributed hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices and any other companies with remote locations and data requirements. Like a lot of other network operators, Tower Cloud is seeing bandwidth growth at the network's edge. (See Feeling Edgy? Join the Crowd.)
"We are seeing that same kind of demand [and are] calling on data center providers and seeing a lot of them moving data centers to the edge to get the lower latency and jitter of caching there," Townsend says, explaining that the big content folks are pushing their data into collocation spots closer to the customer and, once they do that, they need redundant connections to protect the data. Tower Cloud wants to be the one to sell them that extra connection.
The data center connectivity market isn't without competition, but in many rural areas, there may only be one provider. Many data center operators are looking for redundancy, which Tower Cloud can provide.
The company is hardly giving up on the fiber backhaul business. It did a major deal with Verizon Wireless to install fiber-to-the-lamppost in Atlanta's Centennial Park earlier this fall for a small cell deployment. Townsend says Tower Cloud expects "modest" growth in the small cell field going forward -- in the hundreds of sites deployed, however, not the thousands once predicted -- at least for now.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading