Frontier’s Arndt: SD-WAN is just another industry buzzword

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Frontier isn't going to fuel what it sees as a hype machine around SD-WAN, according to one of their executives. Especially when it already has the network management and bandwidth tools in place to accomplish the same thing. 

While the service provider isn't dismissing SD-WAN, Frontier already offers similar tools that most SD-WAN solutions promote, like providing a clearer view to customers of their bandwidth usage.

Ken Arndt, EVP of commercial for Frontier, told FierceTelecom that he does not see SD-WAN enabling business customers to more effectively oversee their network services.

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“It’s interesting in that SD-WAN is a buzzword,” Arndt said. “We will roll it out, but I don’t know how it’s going to dramatically change the way our customers may consume services.”  

While he confirmed that Frontier will ultimately offer the service at a later point, Arndt said that the provider has built its network to achieve the same benefits SD-WAN advocates are citing today.

“We spend a lot of time ensuring customers understand their bandwidth utilization and bandwidth needs,” Arndt said. “We provide bandwidth flexibility and allow customers to manage bandwidth, but I struggle with the ultimate value on who is going to consume it.”

Anrdt added that “our network is enabled to handle it, which is not ubiquitous yet, but it will be soon.”

Frontier’s stance on SD-WAN comes as ILECs look for new methods to enhance business service revenues. A number of Frontier’s closest peers like Windstream, CenturyLink and Verizon have been aggressively touting the service.

At Frontier, the service provider is clearly moving toward finding new revenue streams for its still relatively new business services unit by offering an expanded set of cloud and Ethernet services.