The Dark Side of Fiber

June 04, 2021

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Building a fiber network can be daunting, expensive, and time consuming, but that doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. Dark fiber networks are a time and cost saving option to look at when planning your next fiber construction project. Here we will dive into what dark fiber is, it's value in today’s industry, and some basics on dark fiber lease rates.

What is Dark Fiber?

Dark fiber is the unlit strands of fiber already placed in the ground for later use. Dark fiber is usually laid by larger network carriers and service providers while constructing fiber networks, as excess available for future expansion. However, until it is needed, the fiber just sits in the ground unlit. In fact, there are hundreds of miles of dark fiber available in certain areas of the country. This is where some providers will decide to lease their unused fiber to other entities with specific bandwidth needs.

Who Can Benefit from Dark Fiber Solutions?

  • Manufacturing & logistical companies

  • E-commerce & retail operations

  • Hotels

  • Government institutions

  • Financial institutions

  • College campuses & schools

  • Internet providers

  • Hospitals and medical/healthcare organizations

The Value of Dark Fiber

The dark fiber that is in the ground untouched, is a very valuable industry asset for a multitude of reasons. Dark fiber can help with fast growing organizations who don't have time to wait for more bandwidth to be built or provided by their ISP. Dark fiber networks also have low latency for companies who depend on fast communication between points or data centers and there is no need to share bandwidth with other customers. They get 100% of the built-in speed 100% of the time. And by leasing a dark fiber network, there is no need to have to wait for service and maintenance requests to be investigated, identified, and remedied. So long as the lessee is equipped to handle necessary repairs and maintenance, dark fiber networks offer an unmatched reliable bandwidth.


There are also added security and cost benefits to leasing dark fiber. Because dark fiber networks are owned and operated by the lessee, no other entities can track or record the data and information being transmitted. This is especially important for organizations who need to transmit sensitive materials over a secure network on a consistent basis. Dark fiber solutions may have an intimidating upfront cost, however the long-term costs to run the network are essentially fixed unlike with an ISP that may increase service costs over time.

Dark Fiber Lease Rates

Dark fiber networks have various pricing models for leasing that can seem complicated. Generally, there are two pricing categories: long haul fiber and metro-area fiber. The pricing varies depending on the market, location, and route. But more simply put, when leasing dark fiber there is an upfront cost depending on the lease agreements, plus the cost of any maintenance and upkeep that the network needs. So, while upfront costs may be more, leasing dark fiber can save time, money, and headaches later. For a more in depth look at dark fiber lease pricing, check out this previously published article from BDC Group. 

Luke, BDC is your Partner

As our communities continue to rely on internet connectivity for everyday tasks and operations, and providers expand networks and increase both bandwidth and speed, dark fiber networks offer a great solution for some. BDC Group is here to help you with any and all of your fiber infrastructure needs. Our team is here to provide you with the best solutions for you organizational and project needs. Whether you are building your own network from scratch, looking to lease, or just need a partner to lean on for maintenance and upkeep, BDC Group is the partner you need to accomplish your network goals.


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Ready to talk? Contact our team to find out how we can help you with your next dark fiber installation project.