InBuilding - Volume 2, Issue 1 - 61
IBW COMMERCIAL DAS: ExteNet
provides broadband connectivity plugs into that building,
then the enterprises that reside in that building are available to get access to that provider's service," Eigen says.
Prewiring each tenant for fiber-optic cabling means that
broadband service providers don't have to work with the
building owner to install fiber networks just to reach two
or three tenants. They have immediate access to the entire
building through ExteNet. "That's a big hurdle an outside
service provide doesn't have to negotiate," Eigen adds.
"That should, in theory, make it much more attractive for
service provides to provide service to the building since a
lot of the upfront cost is already taken care of for them."
The results are encouraging with five broadband providers
now offering service to Bank of America Plaza tenants.
ExteNet took another step into the fiber market in
November when it closed on the acquisition of Axiom
Fiber Networks, which had built an extensive fiber network serving Manhattan. The purchase gives ExteNet a
foothold in the market for leasing unused network capacity, called dark fiber, to carriers, a capability it previously
lacked. Dark fiber differs from lit fiber in that with dark
fiber the carrier is responsible for installing the equipment at both ends of the fiber network and managing
the services that run through the cables.
With lit fiber, the owner, in this case ExteNet, provides
access to the network but retains the responsibility of
managing the capacity and maintaining equipment.
ExteNet now offers both options in Manhattan, one of
the largest markets in the entire country.
Future fiber capacity growth is likely to come through
additional acquisitions. The cost of building out new
fiber networks has become increasingly expensive, leading ExteNet to pursue more purchases in the same vein
as Axiom Fiber Networks. "We remain on the lookout
for strategic assets that complement the business," Eigen
says. "I fully expect more acquisitions in 2018 but when
and what remains to be seen."
communications businesses such as Vertical Bridge
and DataBank. "Digital Bridge is kind of building this
portfolio of complementary coms infrastructure companies," Eigen explains.
Digital Bridge's backing will aid ExteNet as it begins
to look at the next leap in wireless and cellular network
technology. The company is exploring the potential of
creating indoor private LTE networks in the 3.5 GHz
band, an unlicensed spectrum that's been designated the
Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS). Localized
networks that tap into the 3.5 GHz band could better
meet capacity requirements while eliminating interference from outside sources.
Eigen believes that within the next three years the
FCC will open up the 3.5 GHz band to indoor wireless
connectivity without the cost of acquiring a licensed
spectrum, which is why ExteNet is developing infrastructure solutions that will support the band once standards
are in place. "It has the potential to be a nice complementary solution to what's available today," he says.
POSITIONED FOR GROWTH
ExteNet is able to make those strategic acquisitions
because it recapitalized at the end of 2015 after being
purchased by Digital Bridge and Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners. The investors infused a significant amount
of capital into the company, helping it execute long-term
deployment plans for indoor and outdoor distributed
networks and small cells.
The investment was a natural move for Digital
Bridge, a holding company that owns several other
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