Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT) may not be a wireless operator, but its win to provide Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) with wireless backhaul services for its ongoing 4G LTE wireless network push shows that it's very much part of the wireless industry.
Under the terms of the agreement, Level 3 will provide wholesale backbone infrastructure and cell-site backhaul solutions to support Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE rollout in rural parts of New England and in West.
Leveraging its Tower Access solution, which combines fiber and microwave-based connectivity, Level 3 will provide Verizon backhaul service to existing cell towers with a mix of new on-site tower construction and colocation at Level 3 sites.
While Level 3's first line of attack is to use fiber, in some cases they just can't cost justify making that investment in Verizon Wireless' rural areas, for example, they'll use microwave solutions from various partners.
Already present in the vast majority of the U.S.-based wireless MSCs, Amanda Tierney, VP Wholesale Market Management, Level 3, said in a recent interview with FierceTelecom "where it makes sense to build out fiber we will and where it makes sense to bring another solution to bear we'll do that."
Tierney added that "microwave has been a great way to solve the problems" they face in reaching cell towers in hard to reach areas.
With the Tower Access product, Level 3 will break out an ILA node, or the regeneration sites that reside every 50-60 miles on its fiber network, and leverage microwave to serve cell towers at any point on its network.
"If one of our customers has a number of towers in a particular area and they are having a difficult time finding a way to reach those towers, we can splice open a node in our network and aggregate those towers with a microwave solution," Tierney said.
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