VSG Ethernet Leaderboard: Indie telco CenturyLink rises

Vertical Systems Group released its Mid-Year 2011 U.S. Business Ethernet Leaderboard, and though little has changed among the top three market leaders, independent telco CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) made its first appearance on the list, having bought its way to fourth place with its acquisition of Qwest Communications (Qwest had been ranked sixth at the end of 2010).

Vertical Systems Group leaderboard Ethernet

Vertical Systems Group's Mid-Year 2011 U.S. Business Ethernet Leaderboard.

VSG said the top three providers of enterprise Ethernet services continue to be AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and tw telecom (Nasdaq: TWTC), with the only recent change being a broadening of AT&T's lead over Verizon. Other players on the list in spots fifth through ninth are, respectively, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), XO Communications (OTC BB: XOHO), Cogent Communications (Nasdaq: CCOI) and Level 3 Communications (Nasdaq: LVLT).

VSG principal Rick Malone said that while enterprise Ethernet demand has been heating up, consolidation moves like CenturyLink's have the potential to reshape the rankings. He mentioned pending acquisitions, such as Level 3's purchase of Global Crossing and Windstream Communications' (Nasdaq: WIN) acquisition of PAETEC as deals worth watching for some future impact on the rankings.

It might also be interesting to see if more cable TV companies make progress in the Ethernet market. Prior to CenturyLink's appearance on the leaderboard, Cox had been in fourth place, and Cox and Time Warner Cable certainly are not the only cable TV companies ascendant in the business services market.

The rankings are based on providers with at least 4 percent of the retail market, and competition continues to be fairly tight the further down the list you go, with only 3.1 percent share separating the carriers in the fourth through ninth spots.

For more:
- see this VSG press release

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AT&T topped the 2010 Leaderboard rankings as well