Qwest may still be an RBOC, but it has always taken a different road than its two compatriots AT&T and Verizon--and its approach to wireless backhaul is no different. Unlike AT&T and Verizon, Qwest does not own a wireless business or network and in some ways that could make them a safer neutral alternative for wireless operators that are nervous about renting circuits from what is traditionally a competitor.
Not one to take a reinventing the wheel approach, Qwest is leveraging the same fiber it is using to power up its Fiber to the Node (FTTN) rollout. In effect, it will prioritize certain neighborhoods to get FTTN service first if they happen to reside along the path of a potential wireless backhaul opportunity. To enhance its wireless backhaul capabilities, the service provider recently launched a series of new wireless backhaul capabilities that not only can accommodate traditional TDM-based SONET, but also next-gen IP/Ethernet as needed.
Alongside its new service, the RBOC, while seeing flat capex spending next year, says a major part of its new investments include bringing fiber to cell towers in its 14-state territory. While it would not reveal any potential customers that will be using its services, Pieter Poll, CTO of Qwest, said in a recent Reuters article that they have gotten requests to upgrade about 7,500 of the 17,000 cell sites that reside in Qwest's territories.