EarthLink (Nasdaq: ELNK) is taking another step forward in its ongoing transformation from being just another dial-up service provider with the creation of its EarthLink Carrier Division.
The new wholesale unit is a combination of its Deltacom Interstate FiberNet, New Edge Networks' wholesale unit and its recent acquisition of One Communications' carrier business.
Set on serving a diverse set of carrier and wholesale customer needs, EarthLink's focus, not surprisingly, is on providing new fiber- and IP-based services.
Through the new unit, it will offer a suite of fiber-based transport, voice and data services to end users and a number of other switched services. While it does not mention it in its announcement release, it's likely that one of the targets will be the growing fiber to the cell site market and providing connectivity to the growing data center market to support cloud services.
Of course, as the new wholesale carrier on the block, EarthLink still faces obvious challenges.
First, EarthLink have to overcome the perception that they are a dial-up company playing in a market already dominated by traditional ILECs (AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ)) and competitive wholesale centric operators like Level 3 (Nasdaq: LVLT). Second, they will have to ensure the back office integration is transparent to existing and new customers under the former companies.
If played right, EarthLink could also become a sound alternative to carriers that might want a new perspective on their wholesale purchases.
- see the release
Special Report: Telecom's fiber network feeding frenzy: Top mergers and acquisitions
EarthLink's Q1 results get boost from ITC^DeltaCom, STS Telecom acquisitions
EarthLink enhances super-CLEC status with ITC Deltacom and One Communications acquisitions
EarthLink makes official bid to acquire One Communications