Colt names XO, Windstream alumnus Nicklas as VP of network engineering

Colt's network

Colt Technology Services has named former XO Communications CTO Randy Nicklas as VP of network engineering.

Reporting directly to CTO Rajiv Datta, Nicklas will oversee the service provider’s technology innovation drive over the Colt IQ Network as part of the service provider’s 500 million ($594 million), three-year investment plan.

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Nicklas will assume strategy and architecture planning, product design and implementation, and asset management across all of Colt’s network platforms, including optical, packet and voice services.

Colt Technology Services
Randy Nicklas

A 25-year telecom industry veteran, Nicklas has significant experience as an engineer and executive. Prior to coming to Colt, Nicklas served as the CTO of Windstream before leaving the service provider last July.

He came to Windstream in 2013 from XO Communications, where he served in a similar CTO role. He played a large role in developing Windstream's nationwide fiber network. Earlier, he served in other roles at Cisco and MCI Communications, now Verizon.

Nicklas’ arrival at Colt reunites him with Carl Grivner, who served as the CEO of XO Communications before coming to Colt last January.

Naming Nicklas as VP of engineering comes at a transitional time for Colt, particularly on the network side, where it is eyeing expansions in Asia and the United States.   

Colt has also been working to further its presence in the United States by developing a large metro fiber provider presence in the United States by leveraging a mix of its own network facilities and assets it will rent from other providers. The service provider said in June that it would “build or buy” network assets in major cities including New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Virginia.

But fiber expansion is only one part of Colt’s network expansion endgame. Like other carriers, Colt is keen to begin its own transition to SDN.

Colt introduced an on-demand Ethernet service that allows enterprise customers to get service out of over 5,000 enterprise buildings and 200 data centers that are currently eligible across 11 countries in Europe. Additionally, the service provider worked with AT&T and Orange, the MEF and TM Forum to create a set application programming interfaces (APIs) for orchestrated Carrier Ethernet services.

Nicklas’ skills in building out networks for XO and Windstream as well as his penchant for next-gen technology could come in handy as Colt looks to enhance its presence in new regions and facilitate its own transition to virtualized networking.