EoC takes center stage at COMPTEL Spring 2013

Sean Buckley, FierceTelecomEthernet over Copper (EoC) is the talk of the town at this year's Spring COMPTEL event, and FierceTelecom is addressing this service trend in its latest special report, EoC makes a new dent in the Ethernet market.

In this report, we look at how ILECs and CLECs are delivering EoC to business customers they can't reach with fiber yet.

A number of the large ILECs, particularly CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), and a host of CLECs such as XO, MegaPath, Cbeyond, TelePacific, Integra, Alpheus and Spirit, are all delivering various flavors and speeds of EoC. All of these providers have been aggressively expanding their respective EoC footprints and speed tiers into existing and new markets.

On the expansion front, CenturyLink, Megapath and XO have arguably been the most aggressive. CenturyLink has expanded their EoC footprint into 700 COs, while XO and MegaPath now provide the service in 485 and 690 COs, respectively.

At the higher end of the speed spectrum, XO and TelePacific now offer 100 and 220 Mbps EoC services. Of course, the delivery of the higher speeds is predicated on the distance a customer's building is from the nearest Local Serving Office (LSO). However, most of the players have told us that the real sweet spot in terms of speed is around 10 to 20 Mbps.

Regardless of the momentum these players have made with EoC, CLECs face various regulatory challenges such as ILEC copper retirement and AT&T's (NYSE: T) call to bolster the telecom industry's migration from TDM to all IP-based networks.

In January, AT&T petitioned the FCC to hold TDM-to-IP migration trials, a move that has drawn mixed reactions from telecom industry groups. While the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) in January filed comments in support of AT&T's petition, Free Press and COMPTEL have filed comments criticizing the company's efforts.

Last week, COMPTEL filed its own comments on copper retirement with the FCC, outlining how the regulator needs "to take expedited action to update its copper retirement rules to preserve and promote affordable broadband over copper."

In addition to our new EoC report, FierceTelecom is on hand at the Spring COMPTEL event covering all of the relevant news and trends taking place at the show.

During the show today, I will be moderating a panel on EoC called "A Key to Network Evolution: Trends in Ethernet over Copper" at the Aria Hotel in Pinyon Ballroom 3. We hope to see you there.--Sean