U.S. installations of Ethernet service ports jumped 26 percent in 2013, according to research from Vertical Systems Group in conjunction with its year-end Leaderboard market share results announced last week. This growth includes all Ethernet ports installed last year by business customers in the U.S.
Ranked by port share, the nine providers on Vertical's 2013 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard are AT&T, Verizon, tw telecom, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable, Cox, XO, Comcast and Level 3.
"The pace of Ethernet customer port installations in 2013 exceeded expectations," said Rosemary Cochran, principal at Vertical Systems Group. "Migration of legacy services to Ethernet continued to be the most significant market driver, while cloud connectivity more clearly emerged as a strategic growth opportunity for higher speed Ethernet offerings."
Port growth was led by strong market demand for higher speed Ethernet access to Dedicated IP/MPLS VPN sites. Layer 2/3 service interconnection available from each of the market-leading incumbent carriers and competitive providers is positioned as a network migration solution for existing VPN customers. As a result, this was the fastest growing application overall in 2013 based on new ports installed. Cable MSOs drove port growth by targeting small and medium businesses within metro markets with aggressive offers to upgrade lower speed Internet and point-to-point connections to Ethernet.
Cloud and data-center connectivity were key applications for 1 Gbps and 10+ Gigabit Ethernet services. Driven by ongoing IT virtualization, there was an uptick in customer purchases of higher speed Ethernet ports during the second half of last year. Ethernet over direct fiber was the most widely deployed access technology for these implementations due to customer requirements for bandwidth scalability and application performance.
Delivery of Ethernet over fiber increased in 2013 as providers actively broadened their on-net service footprints. Ethernet providers also expanded use of EoC and other access alternatives, in addition to NNI partnerships and wholesale agreements. In response to competitive pressures, providers also focused on improving their Ethernet installation and support processes.