Reworking the core

Complementing the long-distance network consolidation exercise, CenturyLink has built out a national 10 Gbps Ethernet core network to carry its LD, video, Internet and business traffic.

When combined, CenturyLink has network presence in 33 states with 700,000 route mile network consists of 10 Gbps and multiple 10 Gbps links depending on route capacity-a network that will increase again when it completes its acquisition of Qwest.

Similar to its LD network implementation, CenturyLink has developed its backbone network with a foundation to support 100 Gbps Ethernet. "Obviously, as we see the economics of 100 GigE and capability come in we have that road mapped but not yet implemented," Beal said.

What's perhaps different about the consolidation of CenturyLink and Embarq is their approach. Instead of just snapping up a company and just folding them in CenturyLink set on advancing both pieces of the company along a common technology and operations path. This migration path includes not only its back office, but now its network.

"What I like most about it is a lot of companies when they consolidate companies just fold them, but what we're proving is we can move forward on the generational and strategic timeline on how we fold these companies in," Beal said. "We always talked about back office capabilities as being our engine as consolidation, and now what you're seeing is we are learning how to establish our network as an engine for consolidation."

Such a consolidation mentality should come in handy as CenturyLink moves forward with its acquisition of Qwest next year.

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Reworking the core