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FierceTelecom: Okay, so you mentioned a big driver in your carrier business is wireless backhaul. Can you talk a bit about the growth of wholesale and wireless backhaul at Cox Business?
Meeks: All of the wireless carriers had been a bit caught off guard by the explosive growth of data services piece of their business. What that means is they need to build bigger pipes interconnecting their cell towers. Companies like us play very well there because they have a need and we have physical infrastructure and footprint. We're seeing most of the large wireless providers moving toward an Ethernet-type platform, which allows them to drive more content over the fiber pipes. That's been a huge part of our carrier revenue growth over the past 18-24 months. I anticipate that will continue as more and more content rich type devices like iPads get deployed, the more need there is for network infrastructure to support those wireless networks.
FierceTelecom: You also mentioned next-gen wholesale Ethernet. Can you elaborate a bit on what that product is?
Meeks: What we're seeing is a lot of wireless carriers are spending a lot of capital dollars on physically expanding their networks to get to more coverage areas. They are also around wireless backhaul spending capital dollars to ensure they have the right capacity in place for the volumes they are receiving via data services. What all of the carriers are seeing is they are Cox filling in the pockets of their networks. I think a smart way to do that is to explore advanced technologies fill in pockets of their networks so picocells hits well on that spot. The concept of the picocell is to have small micro devices that we can attach to our physical plant to allow those wireless carriers to fill in holes they might have in their network coverage.
FierceTelecom: Speaking of Ethernet, a recent Vertical Systems Group ranked Cox Business as the fourth largest Ethernet serviced provider based on customer ports. How do you foresee commercial Ethernet services evolving for Cox Business?
Meeks: We have done several innovations on the carrier side and the traditional commercial side. What we're seeing is enterprise as well as carrier customers are all moving away from the old world of ATM/FR types of services toward Ethernet platforms. Commercial and carrier customers are making that move in order to get better throughput for fewer dollars. We're deploying a seamless Ethernet platform across all of our market as quickly as we can. We're developing customer portals across that common platform so customers can look through that network with visibility into network performance and throughput. The other thing we're doing is providing Ethernet-based services over our HFC (about 80 percent of the Ethernet customer base is served on HFC) as well as fiber. We're the fourth largest Ethernet provider in the U.S. with MEF 14 and MEF 9 certifications. We've done the diligence to be sure we're in compliance with Ethernet standards because it really is an explosive area of growth for us and our customers.
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