Wireline moves forward amid shifting sands: a look at 2012's trends

Samantha Bookman, FierceTelecom

It's been an interesting quarter for wireline and the telecom industry in general. Merger and acquisition activity has continued, with Cisco this week adding privately-held Cariden Technologies to its fold. The trend toward VDSL as a stopgap measure to supply broadband service looks to be picking up momentum. Meantime, business services kept making a positive impact on the bottom lines of both telcos and cable operators looking to stem revenue losses from the decline of traditional wireline and subscriber loss.

Of course, most of that isn't surprising, as trends through 2011 and 2012 have held true.  Over the past couple of months, we reported on the progress of the wireline industry and interviewed top executives like Kevin O'Hara of Integra Telecom and Larissa Herda of tw telecom to get their views of their respective market segments.

Sean Buckley took a look at Lumos Networks' move to capitalize on fiber to the tower (FTTT) services by providing wireless backhaul service to dark fiber customers. Sean and I also profiled 10 executives at leading competitive providers as they take their companies through the shifting sands of consolidation and transition affecting all CLECs.

Not everything in wireline is coming up roses, of course. Around Halloween, we listed five of the many things that keep telecom executives awake at night. And this week we continued our annual cautionary tale with our list of the worst wireline executives of all time. (Bernie Ebbers is not on the list, by the way. That's because he's on last year's list along with other archvillains like Joe Nacchio and John Rigas.)

Our other wireline publications kept readers on point with trends in their industry segments. At FierceCable, Steve Donohue detailed a few of this year's customer service-related nightmares. He also, along with the wireline team, kept readers updated on outages and issues caused by the historic Superstorm Sandy.

Fred Donovan, the newest editor in the wireline fold at FierceEnterpriseCommunications, reviewed the growth of unified communications, a technology trend he says is headed for a "third wave" soon which will incorporate social media and other innovations under its banner. UC is also a market where providers that typically targeted small to medium sized businesses in the past are now poised to take on multi-site enterprises thanks to the growth of hosted UC services.

Over at FierceOnlineVideo, Mariko Hewer recently detailed the strengths and weaknesses of Netflix's top (or soon-to-be top) competitors. The streaming video giant's missteps last year along with strong service offerings by Amazon and innovative moves by HBO mean it could soon be swarmed by providers looking to take its crown.

So, as we roll into the final month of 2012, take a look back at the wireline group's extensive industry coverage. In December, we'll be looking forward into 2013 and beyond to see what's in store for wireline.--Sam