Lumen, AT&T and Spectrum lead flat carrier Ethernet market

Ethernet cables in on premise equipment
Ethernet port growth was flat last year, as people stayed out of offices and public buildings. (University of Michigan)
COVID-19 and SD-WAN were two of the biggest factors influencing the carrier Ethernet market last year, according to the market trackers at Vertical Systems. Port growth was flat last year, and the seven top companies ranked in exactly the same order as last year.
 
"Implementations were disrupted by COVID-19, and enterprises pivoted from Ethernet-connected MPLS networks to Managed SD-WANs,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. SD-WAN did drive some growth in the Ethernet market through dedicated internet access, which is one of the preferred underlay services supporting dedicated connectivity for managed SD-WANs.
 
Vertical Systems said dedicated internet access was the fastest-growing part of the carrier Ethernet market. Another bright spot was secure, multi-gigabit Ethernet connectivity for data centers, Malone said. 
 
 
Lumen is the only company on the leaderboard that has attained MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification. Meanwhile, Spectrum Enterprises employs more MEF carrier Ethernet certified professionals than any other company on the list.
 
To qualify for a rank on this leaderboard, network providers must have 4% or more of the U.S. retail Ethernet services market. Providers with between 1% and 4% of market qualified for Vertical Systems' challenge tier. In alphabetical order, these companies were Altice USA, Cogent, Frontier, GTT, T-Mobile (including Sprint) and Zayo.
 
 
The six segments of the carrier Ethernet market tracked by Vertical Systems are: Ethernet DIA (Dedicated Internet Access), E-Access to IP/MPLS VPN, Ethernet Private Lines, Ethernet Virtual Private Lines, Metro LAN, and WAN VPLS. 
 
Market shares are measured based on the number of billable retail customer ports installed. The Ethernet segment most severely impacted by COVID-19 in 2020 was E-Access to IP/MPLS VPN, which has a widely installed U.S. port base.
 
 
Vertical Systems said that as of the end of 2020, nearly one-quarter of retail Ethernet services installed in the U.S. are 1 Gbps or higher speed ports.
 
Demand for high-speed broadband may have held up well during COVID-19. Earlier this week, Cogent said demand for its 1 Gbps service has remained strong despite the pandemic, while demand for slower services has weakened.