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XO Offers 10 Gigs in 10 Days, Another Challenge to Level 3s Woes

As Level 3 Communications Inc. continues to struggle with provisioning issues, XO Communications has increased its network capacity to 800gbps and once again expanded its guarantees for wholesale customers. New today from XO is a promise that the company will provision 2.5gbps or 10gbps transport services within 10 business days or XO will provide a one-month service credit for each year of the customers contract.

XO calls the new program, which its offering from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 to wholesale customers that sign two- to three-year contract terms, XO 10 Gigs in 10 Days.

Cindy Whelan of Current Analysis notes that the network upgrade and new wholesale offer from XO builds on what the company has been doing over the past year. Last year XO deployed Infinera gear to upgrade its network, she said, and since then the carrier has continually upgraded capacity while also instituting guarantees for provisioning times, service levels and pricing. In February, XO announced the 3 Guarantee Program, which included a 90-day trial period for new IP transit services, a promise XO would beat any price for 2.5 and 10GB wavelength services, and installation guarantees, said Whelan. Then, in July, XO came back and offered a best price promise on 1gbps and 10gbps Ethernet services along with 2.5GB and 10GB wavelengths; expanded its installation guarantee to apply to Ethernet services; and continued its risk-free trial offer, she said.

Theyre just continuing to strengthen not only the network capabilities, but on the customer service side, their ability to support and service their customers, said Whelan.

That may enable XO to wrest away some customers from Level 3, which has run into provisioning problems as it works to integrate the multiple billing and operational support systems from its many acquisitions, including Broadwing and ICG, over the past several months.

In announcing Level 3s third quarter financial results, for which the company reported a net loss of $174 million, CEO James Crowe commented: While we continued to grow core communications services revenues, and we did meet our guidance measures in the third quarter, the company had difficulties with provisioning orders for its services. The breadth of the problem was greater than we had earlier diagnosed.

Level 3 was not specific on the provisioning problems, but David Hold, senior analyst for network services at Current Analysis, told xchange on Monday that in the process of integrating its acquisitions, Level 3 made some headcount reductions in the area of provisioning that led to problems in getting services turned up in a reasonable amount of time.

As for XOs network upgrade, the company recently deployed 800gbps of capacity on highly-trafficked coast-to-coast and regional routes, explained Ernie Ortega, president of XO Carrier Services. The company initially talked about the 800gbps update this summer, but it was just completed last month, said Ortega. XO offers 400gbps capacity on its regional routes. The XO nationwide network connects 75 major metropolitan markets across the United States. In addition to its nationwide network, XO has approximately 1 million fiber miles of metro fiber networks in major markets across the country.

Level 3 Communications Inc. www.level3.com
XO Communications www.xo.com


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