According to Vertical Systems Group, Zayo was already among the top ten companies with the most on-net fiber-lit buildings and ranked number two for U.S. wavelength services as of the end of 2021.

Zayo is approaching the completion of work to update its 75,000-mile backbone network to 400G capability. It is now looking to change its product strategy to reflect this and has hired former Equinix CEO Bill Long as its new Chief Product Officer.

Former Equinix CEO Bill Long

Long was most recently SVP of product management at Equinix, where he oversaw the team in charge of the company’s global colocation, interconnection, and infrastructure services. Prior to that, he spent over a decade at Level 3 Communications, where he held several positions such as Director of Emerging Opportunities and Vice President of Voice Services.

His hiring comes after the resignation of Zayo’s former Chief Product and Technology Officer Brian Lillie, who took over in April 2021 and resigned in May 2022.

Long’s “depth of knowledge and experience directing product growth and profitability in the digital infrastructure field,” according to Zayo Group President Andres Irlando, will be an “invaluable asset.”

The CPO appointment comes at an important time for Zayo. The corporation expects to finish a 400G upgrade to its network backbone by the end of the year, after reaching the halfway point in May. It has also been increasing its undersea cable holdings, with the July opening of a new connection between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. It finalized the acquisition of Education Networks of America, which provides managed connectivity and network services to schools and other public sector customers, in June.

Long will be responsible for taking these assets and directing the company’s overall product strategy, financials, and roadmap in the face of competition from Lumen Technologies, Windstream, and others.

According to a Zayo official, he will be in charge of everything from managing the company’s basic infrastructure solutions, such as fiber and transport, to overseeing new services offered through its SD-WAN and E-Rate businesses. He will also assist in the development of cloud and edge solutions for the future.

Furthermore, the representative stated that Long is particularly interested in extending Zayo’s network observability and automation, multi-cloud, and edge-to-core-to-cloud capabilities.