Cincinnati Bell’s Fox: SD-WAN is a near-term virtual service, edge-out enterprise service opportunity

Cincinnati Bell’s ongoing fiber network expansion to more homes and businesses will give it more opportunities to transform more elements of its network to software-based solutions.

Leigh Fox, COO of Cincinnati Bell, told investors during the UBS 44th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference that the service provider has kicked off a multi-year network transition from TDM to IP where it will implement SDN and NFV.

“This project we just kicked off to look at this will be a 36 month or longer project,” Fox said. “As we build more fiber into our footprint, we also begin to hit thresholds where true network transformation is possible.”

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Fox said that the first tangible benefit of the transformation could be to offer an SD-WAN service to business customers.

“In the short run something like SD-WAN is more of an opportunity from a product standpoint for us,” Fox said. “We’ll launch an SD-WAN product in April next year so we see more growth from a revenue standpoint.

Fox added that “we do think there’s the potential of a next layer of network transformation and we’re going look at everything.”

In conducting its network transformation, the other question for Cincinnati Bell is are they going to expand their fiber footprint into other territories to serve its multi-site business customers?

Fox said that while the provider has no immediate plans to extend fiber into new territories, SD-WAN and other cloud-based services could strengthen the telco’s bond with multi-site customers.

“From an enterprise standpoint, I think that’s where you get into SD-WAN or more network as a service NaaS-type products,” Fox said. “I don’t think that you have build network and the way the product innovations are going we can combine unique products to follow them anywhere.”