For CenturyLink, EoC breeds business opportunities

Centurylink network map

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), for much of its existence--especially in its previous form as CenturyTel--was not much more than a small town phone company delivering telephone service and data services to residential customers and a pocketful of businesses.

All of that changed when it purchased Qwest and then Savvis in 2011. By acquiring Qwest, CenturyLink was able to target a larger base of business service opportunities.

One of the services it can offer more effectively to both large and small businesses is Ethernet. While CenturyLink was not entirely a stranger to Ethernet, the Qwest acquisition immediately gave it an expanded base of TDM-based Ethernet offerings (EoTDM, EoT1, EoSONET, and EoCopper) and IP-based Ethernet over fiber offerings. It also gave it a well established set of mid-sized and large enterprise customers, including various government agencies it serves via the GSA Networx contract.

In addition to a wide fiber-based Ethernet and TDM-based portfolio, Qwest maintained a growing Ethernet over Copper (EoC) service set for its customer base. Depending on distance and availability of copper pairs, it can deliver a variation of speeds as low as 2 Mbps up to 20 Mbps and higher.

"Since they acquired Qwest, which had some amount of Ethernet over Copper already, they made some major expansions," said Roopashree Honnachari of Frost & Sullivan. "CenturyLink is the only ILEC that has made a significant investment in Ethernet over Copper."

During the recent 22nd Citi Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference, Stewart Ewing, CenturyLink's CFO and Vice President, said that the provider has expanded its EoC footprint throughout 2011 and into this year.

To better target small to medium business (SMBs) clients with lower speed Ethernet services, the ILEC has expanded its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) rollout to about 334 new COs in the Qwest markets.

"What Ethernet over Copper allows us to do is provide higher speed services to business customers in those areas to make us more competitive," Ewing said.

As CenturyLink looks to strengthen its presence in its legacy Qwest markets where it has to contend with growing competition from aggressive CLECs like Integra Telecom and cable operators like Cox Business, the service provider will likely use EoC as a option to upsell existing customers or new customers that want higher speed data services.

For CenturyLink, EoC breeds business opportunities