AT&T, Level 3 Lead Ethernet Ranks as Mergers Threaten More Shake-up

AT&T tops the list of U.S. carrier Ethernet providers in the latest numbers from Vertical Systems Group.

The analysts at VSG are out with their mid-year Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard, which, based on retail port share, puts AT&T in the No. 1 spot, followed in order by Level 3, Verizon, CenturyLink, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, XO Communications and Cox. Numbers are tallied by using the base of enterprise installations of Ethernet services, plus results from surveys of Ethernet providers.

The good news for partners: Ethernet adoption is growing for all of these companies, with key drivers being the migration from TDM services; demand for faster Internet; and the need to connect to public and private clouds.

“U.S. Ethernet port growth was unprecedented in the first half of 2015 and easily surpassed previous estimates,” said Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group. “This market seems to be defying the law of large numbers, as there are few indications of the typical slowing growth patterns that we look for when services reach this size and maturity.”

To make VSG’s leaderboard, a provider must have at least 4 percent market share. A number of companies made the firm’s Challenge tier – those with between 1 and 4 percent share. They are, in alphabetical order, Bright House, Charter, Cogent, Lightpath, Windstream and Zayo.

So what does the future hold? Looking no further than some pending merger activity to make your forecast. Charter is awaiting approval for its proposed acquisitions of Time Warner Cable and Bright House. That deal could changed the Ethernet leaderboard “as significantly as Level 3’s acquisition of tw telecom in 2014,” Vertical Systems Group says, when you consider that TWC is already ranked fifth and both Charter and Bright House are on the Challenge tier.

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.

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