CenturyLink tops carrier Ethernet rankings

Feb. 23, 2018
According to Vertical Systems Group, CenturyLink has moved up to the No. 1 spot on its latest LEADERBOARD of U.S. Ethernet market ...

According to Vertical Systems Group, CenturyLink has moved up to the No. 1 spot on its latest LEADERBOARD of U.S. Ethernet market leaders. It is the first time a provider other than AT&T has led the ranking since 2005.

Seven companies achieved LEADERBOARD status for 2017 (in rank order based on retail port share): CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Windstream and Cox.

CenturyLink's advance was driven by its November merger with Level 3, along with continued growth in Ethernet ports for both companies. Previously, Level 3 ranked second to AT&T, and CenturyLink ranked fifth on the Mid-2017 U.S. Ethernet LEADERBOARD.

To qualify for the LEADERBOARD, network providers must have 4% or more of the U.S. Ethernet services market. Shares are measured by the number of billable retail customer ports in service as tracked by Vertical Systems Group.

"In addition to the shakeup at the top of the LEADERBOARD, U.S. Ethernet installations exceeded the milestone of 1 million ports in 2017," said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. "Overall, the fastest growing Ethernet deployments were driven by higher speed cloud connectivity and IP VPN access. Service providers cite price compression as a continuing challenge, as well as delayed network purchase decisions due to SD-WAN evaluations."

Other findings indicate:

  • The U.S. retail Ethernet port base grew 13% in 2017 and finished the year with more than 1 million ports.
  • Seven Ethernet providers qualified for the 2017 LEADERBOARD, as compared to nine in 2016. The two company exits were XO (acquired by Verizon) and Level 3 (merged with CenturyLink).
  • Comcast had the highest organic growth of the LEADERBOARD companies in 2017, growing its base of Ethernet ports appreciably without an acquisition.
  • Each of the seven LEADERBOARD companies has attained MEF CE 2.0 Ethernet services certification, and each employs MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professionals (MEF-CECPs). Spectrum Enterprise leads with more than 800 MEF-CECPs, followed by CenturyLink with greater than 500.