New Metropolitan Dark Fiber CRAN Architecture Enables Carrier to Scale Small Cell Deployments Across New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont

FirstLight, a leading fiber-optic bandwidth infrastructure services provider operating in the Northeast, announced today a long-term dark fiber contract with a major wireless carrier for the implementation of a new metropolitan CRAN ring throughout Manchester, NH, Biddeford, ME and Burlington, VT. The fiber networks are purpose-built to support additional small cell deployment capabilities across smaller, Tier 2 and 3 markets throughout this region.  In addition, FirstLight’s solutions are now available to enterprise customers along these newly built routes.

Small cell technology is rapidly advancing as wireless carriers seek efficient solutions that support advanced network management and increased network capacity. ABI Research estimates a 43% compound annual growth rate for small cell technology as more operators seek to considerably densify their networks. *Additionally, the Small Cell Forum estimates that the overall small cell market is expected to reach revenues of $6.7 billion by 2020 as outdoor carrier deployments accelerate to new, record-breaking levels. While the rural and remote market is still in its early stages, there is expected to be sharp growth from 8,150 units in 2014 to 87,644 units by 2020.**

“Whether in the metro or rural areas, FirstLight has continued to play a key role in providing the underlying infrastructure necessary to support small cell deployments, which is critical for enabling the widespread rollout of 5G.  These dark fiber networks will assist this carrier in the introduction of additional capabilities to their wireless subscribers,” stated Kurt Van Wagenen, President and CEO of FirstLight.

Up until now, the focus of many wireless carriers has been on ensuring that the major metropolitan markets have the necessary infrastructure to support its subscribers.  This recent deployment demonstrates that leading wireless carriers are now turning their attention to the Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets and building out their non-macro site network infrastructures in order to support the evolution to 5G for all of its customers.

“FirstLight is proud to lead the charge in offering the best solutions in both dense metro and smaller, Tier 2 and 3 markets,” added Patrick Coughlin, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer for FirstLight. “As wireless carriers seek to boost their network capacity to keep pace with exploding customer demand for bandwidth, they are increasingly relying on dark fiber networks to support small cell technology, which is so crucial to meeting these growing needs. FirstLight’s dense fiber networks throughout the Northeast provide an ideal platform for serving small cells.

In addition to these projects, FirstLight has now successfully completed several other projects throughout its footprint that will bring fiber-based connectivity to both macro and non-macro sites for many wireless carriers. FirstLight’s connectivity solutions are designed to help its carrier customers gain a competitive advantage in the market.

Learn more about FirstLight’s carrier solutions at


**Crossing the Chasm: Small Cells Industry November 2015 Report, featuring research sources:  Mobile Experts, Market Status Report, November 2015; iGR, The Potential for Small Cells Infrastructure-as-a-Service in  the US, May 2015; and Rethink Technology Research, Small Cell Operator Survey August 2015.