XO scales up its Ethernet over Copper network

With over 19,000 route miles of fiber, XO Communications is not lacking in the fiber department to deliver optical-based Ethernet services, but that fiber network doesn't reach every building in its footprint.

To close the so-called fiber gap for Ethernet, XO has been aggressively rolling out Ethernet over Copper (EoC) in its markets. And the effort is paying off as the service provider revealed during this week's COMPTEL Plus show that it has expanded its EoC network by more than 30 percent with increased coverage in 39 existing markets in addition to new markets in Charlotte, N.C., Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y.

XO attributes its EoC growth to its deployment of new EoC-enabled local service offices (LSOs), bringing its count to more than 400 U.S.-based LSOs.

What XO's deployment strategy is helping to do is extend Ethernet to SMBs, a segment that's often left behind because the buildings they reside in don't have fiber facilities. Even though the availability of "last mile" business fiber rose up to 22.9 percent and 15.1 percent of all U.S. and European business sites, Vertical Systems Group points out that small and medium sized business (SMB) continue to remain underserved with fiber.

XO and other competitive carriers are "targeting those customers in the small business markets where AT&T and Verizon are not focused," Cochran said, adding that "it's more of the vertical markets and the small regional companies that are trying to make the move to Ethernet or are not sure how to move to Ethernet--that's an area where there has been growth particularly driven by data applications."

To date, XO's EoC network reaches more than 1 million businesses. For SMBs that aren't in a fiber fed building, EoC is an alternative medium that allows customers to scale in 3 Mbps increments up to 20 Mbps. Traditionally, SMBs had little choice but to either purchase a DS-3 or another T1 circuit.

On VSG's recent Ethernet Leaderboard, a twice a year analysis piece that tracks Ethernet port share of U.S.-based Ethernet providers, XO's EoC drive contributed to its rising port share.

"XO had the most port gain as a percentage," Cochran said. "I think that was a function of their active deployments of both EoTDM and EoC-type solutions. They have been pretty active in doing that which has allowed them to spread out beyond their fiber base."

For more:
- see the release here

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