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What Didn’t Happen: Zayo’s 2023 Year in Review

Zayo has had a busy year! We build, own, and operate one of the world’s largest independent fiber optic networks, and we have one goal in mind:

Keeping you out of the news.

Every decision we’ve made during 2023 aims to ensure that you, our customer, can forget about us. That you can take your network completely for granted. That when you and your customers need your bandwidth to perform, it simply does, transporting your Zoom calls, your machine learning data, and your edge applications, without hiccups, without added latency, and without news-worthy drama.

There’s a lot that goes into “it just works.” This year, we made sure that we took a good look at where technology is going, what demands were going to be placed on your network, and where we needed to invest so that in the end, you can take us completely for granted.

1. What Didn’t Happen: Security Breaches

2023 was a year of security investment for Zayo, especially at the IP layer of our network where hackers assume they’ll find vulnerabilities. In addition to welcoming new Chief Security Officer Shawn Edwards to Zayo, we tightened our IP security infrastructure in two important ways:

  • Participating in Public Resource Key Infrastructure (RPKI), a “companion” technology created to make BGP routing more secure
  • Implementing 2FA for BGP configuration changes – a simple measure to ensure our IP customers’ security

Further, Zayo was honored to win this year’s TMCnet Zero Trust Security Excellence Award. As a Tier-1 ISP that climbs the CAIDA ladder year over year (to the #7 spot now), as well as a managed edge network provider, you can trust Zayo’s network with your Internet traffic, DDoS Protection, and SASE solution. Cross cybersecurity off your list of worries. 

2. What Didn’t Happen: Network Outages

While weather (and squirrels) certainly happened, customers on Zayo’s resilient backbone network hardly noticed. With a constant eye toward what could go wrong, we built a number of new routes and connected thousands of new buildings to ensure that when weather or the occasional backhoe impacts our network, it doesn’t impact yours. 

How do we do this?

  1. First, by ensuring that every route we construct on our network has a geographically separated, alternative diverse route in case of an outage.
  2. Then, by building completely unique routes – providing customers with a path shared by no other provider.
  3. Next, we extend this infrastructure into our hundreds of metro markets to connect buildings directly, so you work with a single provider end-to-end.
  4. Finally, by burying our fiber – so it’s protected from even extreme weather events.

Keeping our network resilient meant building new routes in 2023:

  • One new long-haul dark fiber route built from St. Louis to Indianapolis
  • 41 IP Data Centers added to our network
  • Added nearly 5,000 new buildings to our metro infrastructure – we now connect 49,000 local sites directly with Zayo fiber
  • Increased fiber mileage to over 17M fiber miles – with 1.5M added in 2023
  • Zayo global low-latency network expanded into terrestrial Brazil, connecting four São Paulo PoPs
  • European expansion with new fiber built between Paris and Marseille 
  • Added a Manchester to New York transatlantic route

It also meant upgrading our fiber capacity along existing routes:

  • Five long-haul dark fiber route overbuilds in North America
  • An Ultra-Low-Latency (ULL) route enhancement to Tokyo 
  • Subsea route enhancement on our Brazil to New York route 

Over the last five years, Zayo has built and now operates over 4,000 new miles of long-haul fiber across 17 states. In 2023, Zayo was the only national carrier to win the NTIA Middle Mile infrastructure grant – a $93 million grant allowing us to help bring the Internet to everyone by constructing new middle mile infrastructure connecting historically underserved communities. Zayo has already begun this new eight-state, 2,100-route-mile project.

3. What Didn’t Happen: Running out of Bandwidth

Emerging technologies like 5G, increased cloud adoption, IoT, AI, edge computing, machine learning, and automation – it all means exponential growth. And that means that you – our partners and customers – need more and more bandwidth. 

In 2023, Zayo heeded the call, and took decisive action:

  • Zayo is leading the bandwidth race. We have enabled 400G across our network, with 20 new 400G routes added in North America this year. We’ll finish our North American 400G upgrade in 2024. In Europe, Zayo is now fully 400G enabled. Customers can now scale their bandwidth with optimal routing.
  • Did you know that Zayo’s IP backbone, which runs on Zayo’s wholly-owned fiber infrastructure, makes up nearly 10% of the world’s Internet capacity? Zayo currently manages 96Tb of core capacity and 34Tb of peering capacity. We added 5Tb of peering capacity and 41 new IP PoPs in 2023 alone.

When you need the additional bandwidth your applications and customers are demanding of you, we’re here. No drama. Just all the bandwidth you need.

4. What Didn’t Happen: A Long Wait for Capacity

Well, ok. This still sometimes happens. We’ve taken a big step to improve this experience.

However, part of taking your network for granted means that you’re not only working with a carrier:

    1. Who has built its fiber network in the right places,
    2. With the right redundancy and diverse routes,
    3. With ample capacity at all layers to tackle bandwidth-hungry technology,
    4. And with the most modern security elements…

…you’re also working with a carrier who can deliver it on demand.

And boy, did Zayo ever hit a home run there! In 2023, we launched our Waves on Demand – a 100G or 400G wavelength, delivered in under 24 hours. On nine of our most in-demand routes, customers simply choose the route and click to order. 100G or 400G of dedicated wavelength capacity will be delivered less than one day later. 

And the full picture starts to come into focus.

Without the foundational network investments we made in 2023, we wouldn’t be able to build this type of automation. APIs (like this one for Internet access) allow for instant quoting and ordering – but on-demand delivery has been lagging. And since we want you to think of your bandwidth like you think of electricity – you flip a switch and know you’ll have it – we’ll automate additional services next year.

What Will Happen: A Look Ahead to 2024

AI is in the driver’s seat now. The dizzying pace of AI innovation is having an impact on just about every aspect of our lives. All the while, we’re still human, with our expectations, hopes, feelings, and foibles. 

We feel that the marriage of these two elements will drive us through 2024. Here are a few predictions for the year ahead:

  • Customer Satisfaction scores will be replaced by Quality of Experience scores. AI will pivot and shift to adapt to each of our individual experiences.
  • Working from home, the office, the coffee shop, or the airplane won’t matter, since AI will learn how to keep us all connected no matter our physical location.
  • Personal creativity will get a lot more fun, and easier. AI can unclog writer’s block, offer up new ideas, and perform research – all within seconds.
  • Personalization will be paramount. Our favorite brands will offer us tailored experiences, self-service options, and predictions about what will make us happier in the future. 
  • Industries responsible for our financial and physical well-being will employ AI to improve both. 
  • And because companies listen to their investors and customers, we’ll see an even stronger focus on sustainability and social responsibility. AI is starting to help in these areas as well.

Data is everything, and AI is crunching it to our benefit. AI is nothing short of a trillion-dollar opportunity, and it will drive unprecedented demand for bandwidth.

Therefore, into 2024, Zayo will continue to ensure that AI-generated data flows effortlessly, efficiently, and reliably. We will continue our network investments, taking advantage of new fiber technologies to introduce two new long-haul fiber routes and another fully unique wavelength route next year. 

We will add 1-2 Tb of capacity to our IP layer every quarter, build the middle mile granted to us by the NTIA, complete our 400G North American network with 13 final routes, add thousands of new buildings, continue our expansion into Mexico, and make certain that when you buy from Zayo, you can continue taking us for granted.

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