Consolidated says Ethernet over Copper will help it address rural business markets

Consolidated Communications may be an advocate of delivering fiber-based Ethernet to business customers, having connected 221 new on-net buildings in the third quarter, but being a traditional telco it is just as keen to enhance the reach of its Ethernet over Copper (EoC) service set.

A key enabler in delivering EoC is the buildout of its fiber area nodes (FANs) deeper into its footprint in rural and more urban areas. These sites bring fiber closer to both its residential and consumer customers. In the business domain, the acceleration of the FANs enable Consolidated to further its Ethernet and overall data services reach.

Speaking to investors during the third-quarter earnings call, Bob Udell, CEO of Consolidated said that it can use EoC as another mechanism to offer businesses in more rural areas a mix of managed voice and data services like its recently launched cloud service.

"With metro Ethernet over Copper reaching the same types of speeds it enables the layering of hosted VoIP and managed service offerings in our less densely populated areas that we initially rolled out on fiber," Udell said. "The business opportunity continues to increase as we move those products down market."

There are a number of options that Consolidated has at its disposal to extend higher speed services over its copper network to business customers. In addition to EoC technology, the service provider could also use the same VDSL2 technology for consumers to deliver 100 Mbps and higher speeds.

That's not to say that Consolidated isn't being aggressive about its direct fiber builds to businesses.

During the quarter, the service provider increased its fiber route network miles (long-haul and metro) and its on-net building reach. On a year-over-year basis it added 880 new fiber route network miles and 231 new on-net fiber enabled buildings, ending the quarter with a total of 4,981 on-net fiber buildings.

All of its copper and fiber-based efforts in the business arena enabled it to grow its metro Ethernet service revenues by 25 percent.

Udell said that it "continued to expand our fiber network and our on-net buildings."

For more:
- listen to the earnings webcast

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