Dark Fiber: The business choice for high bandwidth in St. Louis

A few weeks ago, we talked to a St. Louis CTO who had just begun shopping around for a high-bandwidth Internet solution for his IT company. He’d spoken with all the big boys in town and found that his business options with the large, well-known ISPs were all more or less the same: a managed service of a single gigabit for a flat rate. Now, there are a lot of reasons why this might not be the best route for a growing business with serious broadband needs.

Anticipated growth, the transfer of sensitive information, available in-house expertise and the possibly severe consequences of network downtime are all wildcards when it comes to subscribing to a managed service. And that concerned our CTO. He decided that, if a dark fiber network was available and the last-mile costs were not prohibitive, that was undoubtedly the best option for his firm.

Here’s why:

  • Flexibility– You want your business to be ready for whatever comes its way. The trouble is, large providers can take weeks to accommodate a request to upgrade bandwidth speeds, and it will almost certainly come with a higher monthly fee. Not so with leasing a dark fiber network. Businesses with capable IT departments can take their bandwidth into their own hands, controlling their own equipment to scale up within budget and without relying on an outside provider.
  • Scalability– Leasing fiber from a dark fiber provider means the ability to light your own network with your own lasers. This gives a network the capability to grow alongside the business it serves. In this case, the CTO was able to configure his own lasers and increase his network speed from two to 18 gigabits. Try asking another ISP for that kind of extra bandwidth at no extra service cost.
  • Security– Your business may or may not deal with sensitive information. For financial institutions, credit card companies, hospitals, and other institutions, data security is paramount. Since dark fiber networks are enclosed (in paths often referred to as “rings”), the network is physically accessible in far fewer locations than with the public access telecom networks large providers usually connect to. This limits the need for additional firewalls or other security measures.
  • Cost– It’s always going to factor into the decision-making process. All else being equal, leasing dark fiber will usually lead to cost savings over subscribing to a lit service. But with carrier lit fiber, last-mile costs along with bandwidth expense, do have the potential to raise the overall price. Dark fiber providers can hedge against these additional costs by constructing their networks directly into the carrier hotels or data centers. This allows dark fiber customers to enjoy one fixed rate for secure and expandable fiber connectivity into the backbone of the Internet. Business customers should not hesitate to inquire about a dark fiber provider’s experience with these projects.

These are some of the factors that businesses should consider when settling on an Internet option. You can read more about them in our white paper comparing dark fiber and lit services. Ultimately, high bandwidth in St. Louis from a dark fiber provider is an option that should be considered right alongside the offers from large providers of lit services.

Like the CTO we talked to, you just might find dark fiber can do more for your business than you expected.