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November 09, 2015

Zayo's Push for Small Cells Means Big Gains

With demand for bandwidth—both mobile and stationary—on the rise, network operators are increasingly under the gun to find solutions that help more bandwidth reach users and yet help keep prices down. Zayo Group Holdings may have found that solution in small cells, and has been seen putting out big numbers of these devices, reaching a new milestone recently.

Zayo Group Holdings now has 1,200 small cell nodes, including a set currently under construction, to its credit after two years in the small cell market. That's not all that's involved, as the company also has a fiber-to-the-tower (FTT) network that encompasses about 8,000 towers throughout the United States.

The small cell systems Zayo use offer both fiber backhaul as well as fronthaul, and come complete with the range of tools needed for a plug-and-play environment, so to speak. Not only do Zayo small cells come with site acquisition and radio frequency (RF) design, but they also come with necessary permits and installation of necessary equipment.

Originally, reports note, Zayo got in the field as a means to bolster its presence in the FTT business, but stuck around as its compatibility with what was currently in play became more apparent. As described by the company's senior vice president for mobile infrastructure, Dave Jones, noted that the small cell solutions allowed Zayo to capitalize on its dark fiber network that was either in place or under construction. Thus growing the small cell line was a means to help drive follow-up sales using what was already on hand.

The value of broadband in the modern environment cannot be overstated. Powering a host of technologies from cloud-based systems to voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and beyond, having enough bandwidth is almost akin to having enough electricity. But with bandwidth—like electricity—in ever-increasing demand and supply being somewhat strained, finding new ways to provide that supply becomes vital to the long-term health of organizations. Recently, we've seen Italtel joining in on the construction of a virtualized 5G small cell network, and that's going to help drive bandwidth growth throughout the area putting it to work. But just adding bandwidth capacity can be difficult and expensive; construction in urban areas is difficult as it is, and pulling up chunks of street or sidewalk to connect new cables isn't the value solution. Small cells present a solution that works well for supply and demand alike, and one that many have turned to.

Bandwidth will only be increasingly valuable as time goes on, with work and play applications alike putting demands on the system. Small cell systems can mean the difference between rapid, easily available bandwidth and a system stopped. Zayo, meanwhile, is showing the big impact that small cells can generate.

Edited by Kyle Piscioniere

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