Uncertainty as the Telecom Boom’s Fiber IRU Flurry Closes in on the 20-year Mark

Brian Washburn
Brian Washburn

Summary Bullets:

• Claims of network providers entering flux as telecom boom’s IRUs expire are important for wholesale; enterprise services should be unaffected.

• The telecom boom’s national fiber builds are now well over a decade old: The fiber’s transport characteristics remain serviceable today.

Starting anytime now, and through the end of the decade, we just might see network operators’ national footprints widely thrown into disarray, as the host of IRU agreements signed during the telecom boom of the 1990s begin to expire (the standard length of an IRU being 20 years, though they can vary). Some observers speculate that, just like the baby boom set the stage for a next-generation ‘baby boomlet’, expiring IRUs will spur a fresh round of telecom negotiations and deal-making. These new deals would buoy transport, network and infrastructure providers. Personally, I expect the freeing up of IRUs to be a relatively minor event. But on the other hand, there still appears to be room for strategic fiber investment.There are two important background points to understand when discussing the telecom industry’s IRUs: Continue reading “Uncertainty as the Telecom Boom’s Fiber IRU Flurry Closes in on the 20-year Mark”