Profiling leadership of the top competitive providers

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Sean Buckley, FierceTelecomFierceTelecom is taking the time to look at emerging executives in the competitive telecom service provider space in our annual Competitive Provider Leaders feature.

As you'll see in this year's feature, we continue to track the ongoing consolidation of the Competitive Local Exchange Company (CLEC) industry.

This consolidation has been driven from two different fronts: mega-billion-dollar deals like Windstream's (Nasdaq: WIN) purchase of the former PAETEC, while smaller ILECs like Ritter Communications continue to expand their business service reach by acquiring a number of smaller telcos and cable operators.  

Along with ongoing consolidation, the CLEC market is also seeing transitions on the leadership and services side.

One CLEC that's seen one of the most dramatic leadership changes was Integra. In less than two years, the service provider saw its founder Dudley Slater leave. He was replaced by Tom Casey, who took over the CLEC to execute its larger business drive, only to abruptly leave to join pigment company Tronox Inc. However, with the appointment of Level 3 Communications' (NYSE: LVLT) co-founder Kevin O'Hara, as its CEO last December, Integra appears to be back on track.

Finally, on the services side, all of the service providers in our 2012 list continue to expand the breadth of their retail and wholesale service sets.

Two of the most obvious services CLECs are continually building out are Ethernet and cloud-based managed services. These carriers are building out their Ethernet toolkit by not only driving fiber into more metro area buildings, but also developing Ethernet over Copper (EoC) to fill in areas where they can't economically deliver fiber today yet still have bandwidth demands that are surpassing the 1.5 Mbps that can be delivered via a traditional T1 line.

For wholesale customers, these providers are also productizing other services, including not only Ethernet, but also a mix of wavelength and dark fiber services.

I encourage you to join us as we profile each executive and examine these industry trends.

Also, please take a look at our 2011, 2010 and 2009 honorees and let us know if there are other competitive service provider executives we should consider. --Sean