CenturyLink says ILECs have no advantage in greenfield fiber deployments

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) said in a letter to the FCC that claims by the ACA and XO Communications -- that ILECs have an advantage over CLECs when it comes to deploying fiber in greenfield deployments -- is counterintuitive and that any advantage that ILECs had in the past has evaporated thanks to recent inroads by CLECs and cable companies.

CenturyLink's comments are part of an ongoing dispute over special access reform between incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) and their CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) customers that purchase special access circuits to fulfill multisite business customer service requests in areas where they have not built out their own network facilities.

CenturyLink even gave examples of non-ILEC providers that successfully compete for customers and have deployed their own fiber facilities such as Level 3, which CenturyLink said provides more Ethernet and business services than the telco. In addition, it noted that a number of cable companies and CLECs like XO are also major providers of Ethernet services.

"None of those providers are compelled to share the conduit they deploy, which occurs frequently, particularly in greenfield situations," CenturyLink said in the letter.

The telco added that it is no cheaper for an ILEC to dig a trench and lay conduit than for any other provider. "And an ILEC has to go through the same additional steps as any other provider, such as negotiating with the building owner and obtaining any necessary permits," the company said.

CenturyLink also chastised XO and ACA for what it characterized as falling back on "vague, tired" claims that ILECs have economies of scale, superior access to capital and ubiquitous networks.

For more:
- see this FCC filing

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