Watch Europe’s growing data centres to see where metro fibre will flourish next, says Fritzsche

16 July 2018 |

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Jennifer Fritzsche of Wells Fargo thinks that the metro fibre market in Europe is behind the US, but growth in data centres is pushing it forward

Europe is “two years behind the US” in the metro fibre market, but “data centres are showing more and more growth in Europe”, says Jennifer Fritzsche, a managing director at Wells Fargo Securities in Chicago, “and fibre will follow that. It’s kind of a chicken and egg.”

Fritzsche has watched the US metro fibre market for years and in September she will be taking part in the first ever Metro Connect Europe in Amsterdam. 

She knows its model, Capacity Media’s Metro Connect conference in Miami Beach, well. “C-suite executives are the beauty of the US conference,” she says. “It might take a few years” to get the same level of participation from the investment community as Miami Beach is used to – but Fritzsche will be there in Amsterdam on 12-13 September.

“It seems every week there are new European fibre deals with high multiples,” she says. Europe is a very different type of market, with a dense urban population. “The metro fibre in the cities is important. A lot of the US is where the buffalo roam,” she jokes. 

She compares a metro fibre infrastructure in a city with the cardiovascular system. “You need the veins to carry the blood,” Fritzsche says. There are more greenfield installations in Europe, she adds, but they need to be future-proof. Networks were installed with 400 fibres not long ago; now she’s seeing 1,700 fibres as the norm.

“Watch the data centres,” she adds. Data centre owners expect Europe to be a big, big market. “It wouldn’t surprise me to see them thinking outside the box.” 

What are the main differences between North America and Europe for the metro fibre business? Europe’s data protection rules, she says. They’re an added complication for fibre providers and data centre companies. “And even before that, you’re different little countries and that makes it more complicated.”

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