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Verizon has completed its $225 million purchase of Chicago-area fiber network assets from WideOpenWest (WOW!), as part of the service provider’s continued efforts to prepare for 5G.

The deal includes 1,200 miles of fiber for more than 500 macro-cell sites and more than 500 small-cell sites in the city.  

Verizon said the purchase will help reduce future leasing costs for macros and small cells already connected to the high capacity fiber network, which is designed to support multiuse services.

The purchase agreement also includes an additional $50 million in network investment from Verizon to complete the Chicago network build-out in the second half of 2018.  

"The addition of these fiber assets is an important part of our strategy to reinforce our current network capabilities and prepare for the future. The completion of this acquisition will help expedite our network densification with fiber and small cells, enhancing our industry-leading 4G LTE network and laying the groundwork for 5G," Nicola Palmer, chief engineer and head of wireless networks at Verizon, said in a statement.”

The deal with WOW! is Verizon’s latest moves to shore up its fiber network, and in line with the service provider’s strategy to get fiber through a variety of avenues, be it buying or leasing existing fiber, or building its own.

When it comes to what option Verizon chooses to go with, Verizon CFO Matt Ellis, speaking at a September conference, said the company’s fiber investments are determined on a case-by-case basis, largely depending on geography.    

In February Verizon completed its $1.8 billion purchase of XO Communications’ fiber-optic network business, which helped the carrier secure metro fiber rings in 45 of the top U.S. markets.

Verizon is also investing heavily in its internal network builds. The company inked a three-year $1.05 billion purchase agreement with Corning for fiber and hardware. The deal includes 12.4 million miles of optical fiber each year from 2018 running through 2020.

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