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Crosstown Fiber 2024 Predictions: Unleashing the Power of Dark Fiber - A Crucial Element in the AI/ML Ecosystem in 2024


Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2024.  Read them in this 16th annual series exclusive.

Unleashing the Power of Dark Fiber: A Crucial Element in the AI/ML Ecosystem in 2024

By Mike Underdown, CEO, Crosstown Fiber

In an era where technological advancements are rapidly reshaping industries and daily life, the critical role of network infrastructure, particularly dark fiber, becomes increasingly evident. As we move towards 2024, the synergy between dark fiber and the burgeoning fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) is set to create a paradigm shift in digital connectivity and data processing. This relationship is not just pivotal; it's transformative, laying the groundwork for a future where data speed, capacity, and security redefine the potential of technology. Now, let's explore four forecasts that envision the future of dark fiber and its integration with AI and ML, shaping digital connectivity and data processing.

1- Increased Demand and Enhanced Network Performance

The integration of AI and ML with dark fiber infrastructure represents a significant leap in network capacity requirements. These technologies, known for their substantial data consumption and processing needs, drive growing dark fiber demand. This demand arises from the necessity for high-speed data transfer and efficient management of large data volumes. Dark fiber, with its high bandwidth and low latency, optimally addresses these challenges, enabling rapid real-time data processing vital for AI and ML applications, revolutionizing data handling and transmission. According to Fairfield Market Research, the global dark fiber market is projected to surpass a value of over $13 billion by the year 2030, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% during the forecast period from 2023 to 2030.

As AI and ML advance, the need for network performance becomes paramount. Procuring lit services from a telecom service provider often fall short, underscoring the advantage of acquiring dark fiber which can offer improved control, security and enhanced scalability Leveraging state-of-the-art transmission technologies (e.g. DWDM), dark fiber delivers high-speed, low-latency data that is critical for operational efficiency and AI/ML advancement. In this context, dark fiber isn't just in higher demand; it's evolving to meet intricate data-centric future requirements.

2- Security, Speed, and Infrastructure Adaptability

In the AI/ML domain, where data is both incredibly valuable and vulnerable, the security and speed of data transmission are of utmost importance. Dark fiber offers a solution that is not only fast but also secure. This aspect is particularly crucial in sectors like healthcare and autonomous driving, where even a slight delay or breach in data transmission can have significant implications.

Moreover, the adaptability and scalability of dark fiber are key in an era marked by rapid technological change. As AI and ML applications develop and become more complex, the infrastructure supporting them must also evolve. Dark fiber's ability to be tailored to specific needs makes it an indispensable asset in this dynamic environment. It allows for the creation of networks that are not only secure and fast but also flexible enough to adapt to the evolving requirements of AI and ML technologies.

3- Strategic Expansion and Geographical Influence

The expansion of dark fiber is poised to continue robustly, supported by a conducive regulatory environment and driven by the burgeoning needs of AI and ML applications. Programs like BEAD are fostering an environment favorable for the growth of dark fiber networks. This expansion is not just about adding more optical routes; it's about strategically extending dark fiber's reach to areas most impacted by AI and ML advancements.

Geographical trends significantly influence the deployment of dark fiber. Regions emerging as hotspots for AI/ML innovation are witnessing a surge in demand for robust network infrastructure. This demand drives strategic expansion, as the need for real-time data processing and decision-making in these areas becomes more pronounced. Dark fiber's high-speed capabilities make it an ideal choice for such applications, ensuring that data-intensive AI and ML operations are supported by a reliable and efficient network backbone.

4- Strategic Role and Market Shift for Companies in the Field

In this evolving landscape, several companies are strategically positioning themselves to meet the demands of the AI and ML sectors, with extensive network coverage, especially in cities like Chicago. Their commitment to developing private networks for large-scale AI/ML deployments highlights their dedication to being at the forefront of this evolution.

The anticipated shift towards making dark fiber more accessible to enterprise customers indicates a potential trend towards a higher value infrastructure service in various markets, extending beyond traditional telecommunications providers as the primary customer group to a wider range of industries and applications. In this transformation, companies like Crosstown Fiber, stand out with its emphasis on customized solutions and openness to strategic partnerships. These companies are poised to play a significant role in driving innovation and efficiency as core enablers of AI/ML applications at a network infrastructure level.

As we approach 2024, the interdependent relationship between dark fiber and AI/ML technologies is set to redefine digital communication and data processing, representing a shift to a new generation of fiber infrastructure that helps power the digital world. With the innovation of companies like Crosstown Fiber, dark fiber is positioned to transition from mainly a data transmission medium to a key enabler of groundbreaking innovations in AI and ML as the world advances to a new era in digital infrastructure.



Mike Underdown 

Michael Underdown, President & CEO of Crosstown Fiber, is a seasoned executive with nearly 30 years in the telecommunications infrastructure industry. Prior to his current role, Michael enriched his expertise as the COO of Comdesco Group, Inc., focusing on construction management and consulting for fiber networks and data centers. He also founded and presided over Chicago Fiber Systems, reflecting his dedication to the technological advancement of the industry. Michael's career is a blend of strategic leadership roles, from operations engineering to new market development in the data center and telecommunications sectors. His acumen extends to real estate, financial consulting, and venture capital, with a keen interest in nurturing early-stage startups and companies navigating pivotal growth phases. Specializing in new market development, real estate, network construction, and channel sales development, Michael melds his broad experience and innovative approach to steer companies toward success.

Published Friday, December 01, 2023 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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