With the $34 billion acquisition of Level 3, CenturyLink's network now connects more than 350 metro areas with 100,000-plus fiber-enabled buildings in North and Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.
To approve the purchase, the Department of Justice required CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) to divest itself of several Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT) networks and offer leases of at least 25 years for dark fiber it owns along 30 intercity routes across approximately 20 states.
The MSO predicts 75% of core revenue (a non-GAAP measure that includes broadband, multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), Ethernet, colocation, hosting, cloud, video, voice over IP and IT services) will now come from enterprise customers, while strategic services will generate approximately two thirds of core revenue. This creates new opportunities for -- and expectations from -- CenturyLink's managed services, cloud and other business-focused groups.
That includes Pasha Mohammed's team. As senior vice president of product development for network, cloud and managed services at CenturyLink, Mohammed expects to spend this year investigating and expanding the provider's use of next-generation broadband and network technologies, he told Broadband World News. Following are excerpts from the interview BBWN Editor Alison Diana had with Mohammed in late December.
Broadband World News: What were the top three technology trends you reviewed or deployed in 2017?
Pasha Mohammed: There were several but here are three. Encrypted wavelengths, which we launched this past fall, address enterprises’ need for secure, encrypted fiber optic networks that can manage the ever-increasing amounts of data and latency-sensitive information.
We also introduced our SD-WAN solution last summer in response to the explosion of connected devices and applications in the cloud, and the need for more control and flexibility in managing those applications. SD-WAN brings software-defined network technology to the network edge. This allows enterprises to create secure, private networks over a mix of public and private infrastructure, and dynamically adjust their bandwidth needs in real time.
Finally, cloud will continue to be an integral part of the network mix, and the introduction of our multi-cloud management lets customers easily orchestrate the delivery of infrastructure, applications and services across multiple clouds.
BBWN: What requirements or opportunities are driving your investment in access networks in 2018?
PM: 2018 will be a big year for CenturyLink in terms of exploring and investing in new technologies and product enhancements. Key areas of focus include higher bandwidth options, meaning 100Mbit/s and above, to as much of our footprint as possible; fixed wireless access, where we provide flexible options using various wireless technologies to reach consumer and enterprise; enterprise metro Ethernet, which puts a continued focus on expanding CenturyLink's Ethernet footprint on-net to reach more enterprise clients, and increasing scale and speeds, which includes migration to 100Gbit/s Ethernet for 10- and 100-Gbit/s enterprise access.
We're also focusing on automation, flow-through provisioning using Netconf/YANG and network technologies such as segment routing. We'll continue our work with NGPON2 and vOLT to provide increased, cost-effective methods of access for FTTx deployments. Virtualization of the OLT function drives an open ecosystem and efficiency, while SDN and network functions virtualization allows us to virtualize as many network functions as we can.
BBWN: Which technologies are of most interest to you for deployment or trial in 2018?
PM: In addition to further enhancing or expanding the technologies we launched last year, a few areas we’re exploring include 5G wireless access and DWDM (dense wavelength division multiplexing) open-line systems.
BBWN: How would you sum up 2017, in one word or phrase?
PM: Transformation. Our enterprise and consumer customers are in varying states of their own digital transformation journey, and their expectations for customer experience and the use of technology to meet their personal and business needs are the highest they've ever been. As a network provider, CenturyLink not only plays an integral role in their ability to transform, but also is engaged in our own digital transformation. That means focusing on the customer experience while developing ways to advance our services and security to address business needs today and well into the future.
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.