FairPoint banks on core growth

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Supported by its 400 Gbps fiber-based IP/MPLS core VantagePoint network, FairPoint (Nasdaq: FRP) is continually making strides with its Ethernet offerings in New England territory it entered through its acquisition of Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) lines in 2008 and other territories in its footprint.  

On the traditional copper and TDM side, the ILEC offers a mix of Ethernet over Copper (EoC) and various Ethernet over TDM-based services including EoTDM, EoDS3 and EoSONET.

From its copper and fiber base, FairPoint is offering various flavors of Ethernet, including Ethernet Private Line (EPL), Ethernet LAN (ELAN), Ethernet Virtual Private Line (EVPL) and Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) via both fiber and copper.

John Lunny, senior vice president, network planning and engineering for FairPoint, said that while he sees a fair amount of demand for 10 Mbps and lower EoC speeds, it sometimes might not be enough to fulfill the needs of a mid-sized or large business.

"Bandwidth requirements are growing so fast that a lot of our customers that suggest they want 10 Mbps, which we can deliver over copper, know they will be growing to 50 Mbps in 12 months," he said. "We have to look at those opportunities on a case by case basis and decide how we're going to deploy versus deploying over copper and knowing we're going to be out of gas in 12 months so we might make a decision to build fiber on day one."

However, Lunny adds that EoC has plenty of utility for a number of business situations. In addition to obvious targets like the SMB segment, it can be a solution for larger distributed businesses like hospitals.

"Copper is really valuable in the small to medium business segment and it also helps us out in the large enterprise space where you might have a hospital with 20 outlying clinics that only need 5-10 Mbps ELAN connections back to the core we'll generally connect those locations with copper," he said.

Complementing EoC, FairPoint is also eyeing the use of copper pair bonding ADSL2+ and is conducting trials of VDSL2 to serve businesses.

"VDSL2's reach is limited, but it's fantastic for multi-tenant dwellings, small office parks, and strip malls where you have limited copper length and can deliver 100 Mbps service," Lunny said. "The way the network is constructed with significant core capacity we're really confident as we start to roll those services out we're going to be successful. It's all about keeping up with what the customers want."

FairPoint banks on core growth