A Unite Private Networks small cell expansion announced today is the latest example of the company’s success based fiber build strategy, explained Unite President Jason Adkins in an interview with Telecompetitor.

“We don’t just build fiber and hope [customers] will come,” said Adkins. Instead, the company only builds where it has an anchor tenant.

In this case the company has two major wireless companies as anchor tenants. But for previous success based fiber build projects, the company has had large enterprises, schools, and city and county governments as anchor tenants, Adkins said.

Another potential anchor tenant could be Cox Communications, which is now the majority owner of UPN. Cox buys some connectivity from UPN and UPN buys some connectivity from Cox, Adkins said.

Unite Private Networks Small Cell Expansion
The Unite Private Networks small cell expansion will encompass parts of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Texas. The build will expand UPN’s existing networks in parts of the Des Moines, Dallas and Kansas City metro areas. In addition, the company will begin serving Denton, Texas and Kansas City, Kansas.

The deployment will involve “heavy-count” fiber, UPN said. That approach would make sense for small cells, which will require dense network connectivity.

UPN’s Success Based Build Strategy
Once UPN has deployed a network, it can leverage that investment to support its own services to enterprise customers – and the latest deployment is no exception. In today’s press release, the company noted that enterprises in the newly served areas will be able to purchase UPN Ethernet services, wavelength services, internet access and dark fiber.

The UPN network covers parts of 20 states, including some Tier 2 and 3 markets. The majority of the company’s service area is in the central U.S.

UPN keeps a relatively low profile but, surprisingly, has been in business since 1998. Although many fiber network operators that arose in the late 1990s eventually went bankrupt or went out of business, that didn’t happen to UPN.

“We’re a financially conservative company,” Adkins said.

UPN was held by its founders until 2010, when it got an investment from Ridgemont Equity Partners. Ridgemont was the majority owner until Cox subsequently made an investment that made that company the majority owner.

The headline to this post has been updated.