Fiber OpticsNetwork operators soon will have a new option for connecting with other network operators at Internet exchange points in the Ashburn, Virginia area. USA Fiber is deploying a seven-mile dark fiber ring interconnecting 35 data centers that serve as common Internet peering points.

“Each customer gets their own fiber pair,” explained Judd Carothers, USA Fiber president, in an interview. “We allow them to utilize the same pair throughout the system.”

Carothers added that “It’s up to the customer to decide which data centers to go into. . . Our customers are allowed to jump on and off the ring wherever they’d like to.”

Dark Fiber Peering
Once inside a data center, a dark fiber peering customer orders a cross-connect from the data center operator to provide connectivity to the other network operators with which the company establishes traffic exchange agreements.

To support the offering, scheduled to be available by year-end, USA Fiber is installing multiple 864-count fiber cables. Customers will pay USA Fiber in the range of $1,500 to $2,500 for visibility to 35 data centers, Carothers said.

Purchasing dark fiber rather than lit services “allows consumers to scale [to meet] capacity needs on their terms,” Carothers noted.

Carothers said some other network operators offer dark fiber connectivity between two individual data center peering points, but he isn’t aware of anyone offering USA Fiber’s 35-data center dark fiber peering approach.

Fifteen years ago, network operators had deployed more dark fiber than the telecom industry collectively could use. But in recent years dark fiber has become increasingly difficult to come by. USA Fiber is one of several network operators, including Allied Fiber, that are venturing once again into dark fiber deployment for wholesale purposes.

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