Who builds dark fiber?


Most people don’t know that many cities throughout the United States are already wired with “dark fiber”: infrastructure that, for a variety of reasons, is never used to provide gigabit connections to actual residents. This fiber is often laid by companies you rarely hear about, like Zayo and Level 3, which lay fiber infrastructure in hopes the city, a provider like Google, or a corporate customer (like an office building) will eventually make use of it.

There’s a fiber network near my home, actually,1 which interestingly isn’t listed on a map of ‘dark fiber’ that I was looking at earlier. That map included more than 200 fiber networks, more than half of which were ‘dark fiber’ that couldn’t be made available for citizen use because Comcast and their ilk had signed agreements with the city/county/state making that illegal. The assumption I’m getting from this is “there’s a hell of a lot more dark fiber around, and the vast majority of it isn’t in use because Comcast is still evil.”

  1. Frustratingly, they offer gigabit service for a very reasonable price. Why is it frustrating? Because I’m 4 blocks outside their coverage zone. 

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