SUPERCOMM: Qwest lights fiber-based mobile backhaul future

Qwest's capital spending plans might not be going up all that much in 2010, but one area that's not slowing down is wireless backhaul. In an interview with Reuters this week, Qwest's Chief Technology Officer Pieter Poll revealed that it will be bringing more fiber to cell sites for wireless backhaul.

Despite the opportunity to expand its wireless backhaul capabilities, Qwest's overall capital budget will remain relatively unchanged. "The overall capex program for next year is going to be flat compared to this year," Poll said in an interview with Reuters. "The percentage for fiber is going to increase."

Regardless of the company's capex spending trends, Qwest's effort to expand its wireless backhaul capabilities is spot on. Over the next year, potential wireless backhaul customer Verizon Wireless said during the first morning keynote during the SUPERCOMM show that it plans to launch LTE 4G wireless services in 25-30 markets. Meanwhile, AT&T Mobility plans to increase its wireless backhaul capacity to deal with current network demands from data-intensive applications such as the iPhone.

While he would not reveal any potential customers Poll estimates that he has gotten requests to upgrade about 7,500 of the 17,000 cell sites that reside in Qwest's territories. Proof of this trend came last month when Qwest launched a fiber and Ethernet based service that can accommodate both Ethernet over SONET or Metro Optical Ethernet needs.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

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