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02/28/2003 - Columbia Fiber Solutions Offers Dark Fiber

Companies who want to be truly in control of their communications network now have the option of leasing dark fiber. Columbia Fiber Solutions acquired Avista Communications’ extensive fiber optic cable network -- closing the deal on October 1, 2002 -- and their mission is to expand fiber optic connectivity to all businesses, large and small. They especially want to help solve problems of local and metropolitan area networks and provide “last mile” solutions --- all at a reasonable price.

When Avista Communications and its predecessor companies built the fiber optic network, it did so partly as a partner with area school districts, so optical fiber is available near many of the area’s schools as well as most commercial centers within Spokane, Spokane Valley, Mead, Liberty Lake, Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, and Hayden. There is a large concentration of optical fiber within the Terabyte Triangle. Many of these network connections begin and end in the US Bank building. Through the Spokane Valley, there is a north and a south backbone, which loops through Liberty Lake providing the opportunity for redundancy, as well as rings of fiber throughout the central business district of Spokane, North Spokane, South Spokane, and Coeur d’Alene. Within the Terabyte Triangle, Columbia Fiber has many fiber vaults so that the connection point between almost any building and the optical fiber cable is a short and affordable distance. Outside the Terabyte Triangle, vaults are plentiful and well spaced, but the distance can be greater.

Dark fiber is fiber optic cable that has not yet been activated by electronics; i.e. its not yet carrying a signal. To use dark fiber, the end user attaches electronic equipment at each end to light it. Not long ago, this equipment was expensive and required someone very knowledgeable to keep it running. All that has changed. Today’s equipment is affordable, much, much easier to use, and much easier to maintain. Leasing dark optical fiber is now an attractive option.

“The capabilities of fiber optic cable are only limited by what electronics you choose to put on the ends of the fiber,” says John Everett, General Manager. “There is a world of applications for which it can be utilized --- including voice, data, video, and imaging.” With dark fiber, you have the potential for unlimited bandwidth at a fixed cost, so as a client’s needs grow; they are never limited by bandwidth or forced to pay more in local loop costs. The client is in control to design and provision the network to meet their needs. Clients can create their own configurations, and by connecting directly to a co-location facility, have a wide choice of Internet service providers, long distance carriers, application service providers, server hosting centers, outsourced IT providers, or other types of service providers.

When a client leases dark fiber, they get sole use of the strands they lease -- no one else has access to that fiber; therefore, it is completely secure. In addition to security, there is never danger of dropped data due to congestion in the network. The client is assured of fast and reliable Internet connectivity, data sharing, large bandwidth file transfers, and many operating tasks that allow it to limit its investment in hardware by centralizing servers, voice switches etc.

Columbia Fiber Solutions is owned by Columbia Ventures Corp. a multinational, diversified holding company whose headquarters is in Vancouver, Washington. However, the people who manage and maintain Columbia Fiber are many of the same people who originally designed and built the network when Avista Corp owned it. They have extensive knowledge of the network and how to make it work. Columbia Fiber’s clients include many of the area’s leading health care providers, schools and colleges, financial institutions, telecom carriers, call centers, and other small and large businesses. Businesses with two or more locations that desire a low cost, flexible, secure and reliable local area network (LAN) especially benefit from using dark fiber.

“We’re the same great people, with the same great services,” says Everett. Columbia Fiber Solutions has a lot of dark fiber available for lease at a fair price -- which is often less expensive than what local businesses are paying for connectivity today. Everett stresses that dark fiber end users are always in control. When they lease the fiber, it’s theirs alone -- and that’s just one solution for easing the stresses of doing business.

To learn more about Columbia Fiber Solutions, go to: or call 688-0100.

Billie Moreland
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