Monday, September 20, 2010

AboveNet European Expansion Shows Continued Gains for Glass Nets 09/20/2010 San Francisco - Big Glass is back.  

Today AboveNet, Inc. (NYSE: ABVT), the progeny of Metromedia Fiber Network (MFN) following the latter's ascent to become the largest dark fiber network on the planet, announced it is expanding its European operations.  The news follows multiple announcements earlier this year of continued domestic infrastructure growth by the carrier.  

The news from White Plains, NY based ABVT confirms the same trend seen in both the launch of new high growth all-fiber nets like Zayo Bandwidth and Allied Fiber, and in the continuing current wave of consolidation in the regional carrier segment of the sector.  All of this shows that the glass players are healthy, focused, and thriving as they capitalize their networks anew.

The company release of this morning states the expansion of its network will allow customers to "be able to connect seamlessly between the U.S., London, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Paris." The expansion was planned to deploy new fiber in "markets with a high concentration of web-centric businesses, financial services organizations and enterprises with a multinational presence."  According to the company, "These markets also have a significant number of private and carrier neutral data centers as well as being key Internet hub cities which further increases high bandwidth transport demand." 

Currently the firm's network is composed of "2 million fiber miles in 16 metro markets, an intercity network spanning approximately 12,000 route miles and a global Tier 1 IP backbone."

Today's announcement is further evidence of the steady management of CEO Bill LaPerch, the former MCI and NYNEX executive who moved the carrier from its 2002 Chapter 11 bankruptcy to last year's listing on the New York Stock Exchange.  LaPerch was hired on as SVP of Operations for MFN by then CEO Howard M. Finkelstein, who had managed many of the late John W. Kluge's telecom investments within the Metromedia group of companies.  Finkelstein left MFN in April 2000 prior to its precipitous decline, arguably at a time before management overextended during the latter months of the Internet boom cycle.  Mr. Kluge passed away September 7th.    

AboveNet's Global Fiber Network
“AboveNet remains focused on investing in markets where bandwidth demands continue to increase,” said LaPerch. "The expansion of our network across Europe will enable existing and new customers to benefit from the fastest speeds and most secure connections to their business critical data and applications.”

AboveNet credits market research on the growing demand for bandwidth in Europe as key to its decision to double down on its EU operations.  “Ovum’s recent research found that European markets  are indeed moving towards high bandwidth Ethernet requirements with more enterprises now investing in this type of infrastructure to conduct business competitively,” said Ian Redpath, Principal Analyst at Ovum. “AboveNet’s focus on high bandwidth services and strategy of offering their capability in more key markets in a seamless manner will resonate with these target customers.”

The new network infrastructure will include dynamic optical networks based on ROADM technology in each of London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam with an advanced IP/Ethernet router layer to support packet-based services. These markets will also be interconnected with a highly scalable European long-haul network with over 3.5Tbps of system capacity as well as transatlantic circuit capacity to the U.S. network. In total, these investments will provide seamless, scalable and high performance capability across these key European markets.

The network expansion is also centered on key data centers and will allow AboveNet to deliver services directly to over 30 of the most significant data centers in these markets.  AboveNet is already connected to more than 400 data centers globally and is a leading provider of data center connectivity. The company expects the expansion to be completed in 2010.  

Disclosure: The author was the 52nd employee of MFN, and has no holdings in ABVT.
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