Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN) is enhancing its ability to serve its growing base of business customers in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets it operates in by employing Infinera's (Nasdaq: INFN) DTN-X platform for its Long-Haul Express Network.
Through a series of organic initiatives and purchasing various assets like Kentucky Data Link (KDL) and Hosted Solutions, Windstream has built a sizable network that covers 118,000 miles of fiber and 27 data center locations.
The DTN-X will give Windstream three potential benefits: lower operational costs, faster service delivery time and scale.
Infinera's DTN-X leverages a combination of combined DWDM optical transmission and five terabit per second non-blocking OTN switching. It also incorporates intelligent software that can automate manual operations to lower operational costs and enable faster service delivery. Because it is designed with 1 terabit per slot, it can scale to single-card terabit super-channels and Terabit Ethernet in the future.
"We have selected Infinera to light a national DWDM network," said Randy Nicklas, executive vice president of engineering and chief technology officer for Windstream, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "We do have 118,000 route miles, but we also only cover the eastern two-thirds of the United States."
One of the differentiators that Windstream brings to the market is that it serves smaller Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets with a set of retail and wholesale solutions. What's interesting about these markets is they are home to some of the largest multinational corporations and wireless operators.
"We have customers in small towns that are multi-billion dollar enterprises, but that's not uncommon," Nicklas said.
He added that while serving the undeserved markets is a key focus for Windstream, "it is still necessary to get bandwidth services to Chicago, Houston and Atlanta, and our intercity DWDM long-haul network is an important step in that direction."
Over this network, it will sell wavelength services to its growing mix of retail and wholesale customers while having a larger foundation to support its growing IP/MPLS core network.
During the first phase of this network build, Windstream will focus on enhancing network routes to provide wavelength services in and between large cities including Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Nicklas said that most of these routes are scheduled to be completed by the beginning of May. However, the network route between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta will be completed at a later date.
Later this year, Windstream will upgrade network routes in Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City and upstate New York. In addition, it plans further expansions in Chicago, Kansas City and Omaha and other subsequent builds in other areas like Denver and Miami.
This deployment comes at a time when the demand for wholesale and retail 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) services continues to ramp.
While it's still early, Windstream is seeing interest for 100G services. "We have already seen some 100G demands in our network, primarily in some metropolitan areas," Nicklas said. "We have a significant WDM deployment, but it has not had this intercity slant to it.
A new Frost & Sullivan U.S. Wavelength Services market study forecast that "the total revenues (wholesale and retail) for 100GigE services is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 165 percent between 2013 and 2017, reaching nearly $120 million by 2017."
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