Level 3 Wholesale hints at 100G service rollout in 2014

Level 3 Communications (NYSE: LVLT) has yet to announce its own 100G optical offering, but the provider is getting requests from both large enterprise and wholesale customers that now need these connection speeds.

Gary Breauninger, who was just appointed Level 3's group vice president for Wholesale Sales, likens the impending demand for 100G services to how VPN services evolved over the past decade.

"Around the year 2000 everyone was talking about VPN and the bubble burst and everything went sideways, but then in 2004 people went from talking to 'this is what we need to get past the economic problems,' and I think 100 Gig is right there," he said in an interview with FierceTelecom. "It's one of those things that make you different."

The service provider sees interest on both the enterprise and wholesale side, particularly from large national competitive providers.  

"The guys with a national play or that have a need for an international play are saying '100 Gig: where is it,'" Breauninger said.

Stopping short of outlining any specific plans, Level 3 currently can provide some capabilities that "resemble" a 100G product.

Breauninger said that "we'd debut a formal 100G product offering 'later this year, but that widespread offerings of 100G would likely be a '2014 thing.'"

Level 3 will launch a generally available 100G offering in North America and EMEA in the third quarter this year followed by a formal Transatlantic 100G offering in the fourth quarter. Later in the first half of 2014, it will update its Latin America routes will be in the first half of 2014.

Early last year, Level 3 launched a 15,000-mile, nationwide 100G network for government and education customers early and it is currently serving a few other customers on other 100G network segments.

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Article updated on April 22 to include new informatoin about the general availabilit8y of Level 3's 100G services.