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LOCKPORT – A few weeks ago, the Town of Lockport lost out on a data center deal because its industrial park lacked “dark fiber,” a type of fiber-optic cable for communications that is necessary for high-speed Internet service.

The town Industrial Development Agency heard price quotes last week from a broker who offered several possible vendors for the IDA’s own dark-fiber service in the town industrial park, to reduce the chances of other such deals falling apart.

“We have been unsuccessful in recruiting one of the data center prospects we’ve been working on for two years,” said Executive Director David R. Kinyon, who did not disclose the name of the company. “It was not because our industrial park is deficient in any way, but because of lack of dark fiber.”

Mitch Stessing of U.S. Network Solutions told the IDA board that companies prefer to have their own dedicated fiber-optic cables even if they have to supply the connection equipment.

They key is dark fiber, as opposed to “lit fiber,” which is provided and hooked up by a utility company such as Verizon or Time Warner Cable.

The major drawback to dark fiber, Kinyon said, is that “it’s expensive.”

For connecting to a dark-fiber network now under construction west of Lockport by a Rochester company called Fibertech Network, the town would have to pay $784,000 upfront plus $4,950 a month, Stessing said.

He said Fibertech is willing to reduce the upfront cost in exchange for a higher monthly bill.

Ten lines of dark fiber were installed when Yahoo constructed its data center in the industrial park, and at present, the company is using only two.

“Yahoo paid for that. If you’ve got a major investor coming in and they’re willing to pay for it, that’s great,” Kinyon said.

But the data center that backed away from a Lockport deal wasn’t as free with its cash as Yahoo and wouldn’t have paid for installation of dark fiber, he said.

Board member Duncan N. Carlson said, “We may have to make a big investment ... We may have to bury it in the [sale] cost of the land.”

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com