GVR Report cover Dark Fiber Network Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Dark Fiber Network Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Fiber Type (Single Mode, Multi-mode), By Network Type (Metro, Long-haul), By Application, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

  • Published Date: May, 2021
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2020
  • Report ID: GVR-4-68038-556-4
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2017 - 2019
  • Number of Pages: 250

Report Overview

The global dark fiber network market size accounted for USD 5.16 billion in 2020 and is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3% from 2021 to 2028. The technology has emerged as a sustainable solution for various organizations that are focusing on enhanced communication and network management. Continuously increasing penetration of internet services, over the period, has paved the way for the high demand for internet bandwidth. This demand is expected to remain rampant over the forecast period. This is the most significant factor responsible for market growth across the globe. The market is strongly supported by companies with a high reliance on internet connectivity. These networks are highly beneficial for organizations with a high volume of data flow in their operation. These benefits include reduced network latency, scalability, reliability, and enhanced security.

North America dark fiber network market size, by network type, 2017 - 2028 (USD Million)

In fiber optic communications, fiber optic cables that are not yet put in service by a provider or carrier, are termed as dark fiber or unlit fiber (sometimes known as fiber). These cables are not connected to any optical device and are installed to be used at some point in the future. It is also called a new fiber construction project to be owned by a customer or service provider. In the current market scenario, network service providers are leasing these unused fiber optic cables.

During the late 90s, the telecommunication industry was booming, and huge capital was poured into building these fiber-optic networks. That period saw aggressive laying down of fiber network along with highways and rail line (i.e., long-haul network type). Similarly, a thousand miles of local or regional network (i.e., metro network type) was laid across large cities and population centers. At the turn of the century, the telecom sector witnessed a meltdown, and these billion-dollar unused fiber network (dark fiber) infrastructures were sold at a meager price by telecom providers to avoid bankruptcy.

Due to the increasing demand for mobile data and the launch of 5G services, telecom service providers are now buying up the available dark fiber and also focusing on building their own. Other factors such as ever-increasing bandwidth demand of handheld device user audience and mandatory conversion to HD video quality for cable operators are expected to fuel dark fiber network market growth over the forecast period.

Fiber Type Insights

In 2020, the multimode segment led the market in terms of revenue and held around 62% of the total market share. It is also expected to continue leading the market over the forecast period. This type is best suited for short transmission distances. It is mainly used in video surveillance and Local-area Network (LAN) systems. Single-mode fiber, on the other hand, is best suited for longer transmission distances. It is mainly used in multi-channel television broadcast systems and long-distance telephony. The single-mode segment is anticipated to witness considerable growth over the projected period. This product type is used for long-distance installations ranging from 2 meters to 10,000 meters. It offers lower power loss in comparison to multimode. However, it is costlier than multimode fibers.

Network Type Insights

Long-haul fiber systems remained the mainstay of the market in 2020, capturing a 69.5% revenue share. The segment continues to gather pace due to its capacity to connect over large distances at low signal intensity. Such long-haul terrestrial networks are widely applied in undersea cabling across long oceanic distances, thus attracting the participation of several organizations in terms of investments. For instance, in May 2018, Vodafone Group deployed a 200G long-haul network, the largest in the world, across 88 cities in India, covering over 43,000 km of network.

The long-haul network is driven by continuously growing investments, the development of smart cities, and strong competitive dynamics in the market. However, the broadening availability of metro network fibers at a relatively cost-effective price is gradually swinging the momentum towards the segment over the next few years.

Application Insights

In terms of revenue, the telecommunication segment dominated the market with a share of 42.93% in 2020 and is anticipated to retain its dominance in terms of market size by 2028. Telecommunication is anticipated to present promising growth prospects due to the growing adoption of the 5G technology in communication and data transmission services. Dark fiber enables high-speed data transfer services in both small and long-range communications. Furthermore, increasing cloud-based applications, audio-video services, and Video-on-Demand (VoD) services stimulate demand.

Global dark fiber network market share, by application, 2020 (%)

Medical and military and aerospace application segments are poised to witness significant growth, attributed to the increasing adoption of optic technology devices. Stringent regulations and standards imposed by the regulatory authorities and medical associations are further fueling the market to flourish in the medical sector, eventually driving the overall growth.

Regional Insights

In 2020, North America held the largest market share in terms of revenue with around 29%. Asia Pacific is spearheading revenue growth owing to technological advancements and large-scale adoption of the technology in the IT and telecommunication and administrative sector. High penetration of the technology in the manufacturing sector and expanding the IT and telecom sectors across the Asia Pacific are strengthening the regional market hold. Moreover, the increasing application of fiber networks in the medical sector is catapulting growth across countries, such as China, Japan, and India, thus propelling the overall demand at a significant pace.

The pricing for non-metro regions is estimated to be higher than that of the metro region, on account of the lack of infrastructure and the lack of presence of dark fiber providers. Governments of developed countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Germany, China, and Japan are heavily investing in security infrastructure at country levels. Awareness is growing among the rapidly developing economies that aim to strengthen their hold at the global level. This is eventually necessitating the funding for technologies, majorly across the fiber networks that would enhance the telecommunication sector infrastructure with better security measures.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The market participants adopt various strategies, such as mergers and acquisitions, product developments, collaborations, partnerships, and expansions, to cater to customer demands. For instance, in 2017, Verizon Communications Inc. acquired XO Communications, LLC, a telecommunications company. This acquisition helped Verizon to strengthen its dark fiber backhaul and allowed it to lease XO Communications, LLC’s Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS) wireless spectrum with an option to buy them in the future. Some of the prominent players operating in the global dark fiber network market are:

  • AT&T Intellectual Property

  • Colt Technology Services Group Limited

  • Comcast, Consolidated Communications

  • GTT Communications, Inc.

  • Level 3 Communications, Inc. (CenturyLink, Inc.)

  • NTT Communications Corporation

  • Verizon Communications, Inc.

  • Windstream Communications

  • Zayo Group, LLC

Dark Fiber Network Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Market size value in 2021

USD 5.41 billion

Revenue forecast in 2028

USD 10.05 billion

Growth Rate

CAGR of 9.3% from 2021 to 2028

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2019

Forecast period

2021 - 2028

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2021 to 2028

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered

Fiber type, network type, application, region

Regional scope

North America; Europe; Asia Pacific; South America; Middle East & Africa

Country scope

U.S.; Canada; Mexico; U.K.; Germany; France; Japan; China; India; Australia; Brazil

Key companies profiled

AT&T Intellectual Property; Colt Technology Services Group Limited; Comcast; Consolidated Communications; GTT Communications, Inc.; Level 3 Communications, Inc. (CenturyLink, Inc.); NTT Communications Corporation; Verizon Communications, Inc.; Windstream Communications; Zayo Group, LLC

Customization scope

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Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2028. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global dark fiber network market report based on fiber type, network type, application, and region:

  • Fiber Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Single Mode

    • Multi-mode

  • Network Type Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Metro

    • Long-haul

  • Application Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • Telecom

    • Oil & Gas

    • Military & Aerospace

    • BFSI

    • Medical

    • Railway

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2028)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • U.K.

      • Germany

      • France

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • Japan

      • India

      • Australia

    • South America

      • Brazil

    • Middle East & Africa

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