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The term Dark fiber or Dark Fibre means it is currently in the ground but it is not being used and is made of an optical fiber infrastructure which is constructed of cabling and repeaters. The term "Dark" means that the optical fiber is not transmitting it's light pulses. Some companies have even laid Dark Fiber for telecom companies or any other entity that perhaps would lease at a later date. When the Optical Fiber transmits it's pulses of light the Dark Fiber becomes Lit Fiber.

What is Dark Fiber?

Dark fiber refers to optical fiber that is unused, and meant for use in fiber-optic networks. The term was originally used to refer to a telecommunication infrastructure’s network capacity; in recent years the term has been used when discussing fiber optic network leasing agreements from service providers. It is also used to refer to fiber installations not controlled or owned by the more traditional carriers.

A well-planned and thought-out network will almost always contain a certain amount of dark fiber. Much of the cost involved in putting together a fiber optic network is the labor and work that is required, as opposed to the nominal cost of the cables. Obtaining permissions, planning and routing, creating channels and ducts and installation and connection are just a few of the labor-intensive activities. It just makes sense for providers to plan for significantly more fiber optics than they currently need in order to plan for future expansion and also for network redundancy, if any of the cables happen to fail. Several fiber optic network owners such as power companies and railroads add additional dark fiber, for the purpose of leasing to other carriers.

After the dot com boom of the nineties, there were many under-utilized dark fiber networks. Many companies were hoping to corner the market; then when the market crashed, they were left with dashed hopes and unrealized dreams of lit fiber networks.

That’s good news for others who want the benefits of a fiber optic network, at a cost that almost anyone can afford, from small business owners to large conglomerates. Flexible service allows you to have any service at any time; change your equipment and increase the level of service even further; you can run any protocol; and you’ll have virtually unlimited bandwidth.

You’ll also have more control over how you run your business and your systems. A lit fiber network allows you to upgrade anytime, and you don’t have to wait for the carrier; you can schedule your own maintenance and service windows; and you can decide what applications to run on what bandwidth. A fiber optic network using dark fiber can help your business run smoother, be more productive and increase your profits. 

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