This is the first time a provider other than AT&T has led the benchmark ranking since 2005. CenturyLink’s advance was driven by its November acquisition of Level 3 Communications, along with continued growth in Ethernet ports for both companies. Previously, Level 3 ranked second to AT&T and CenturyLink ranked fifth on the mid-2017 leaderboard.
Seven companies achieved Leaderboard status for 2017, ranked in order based on retail port share: CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Windstream and Cox.
Two companies exited the leaderboard: XO Communications (acquired by Verizon), and Level 3 (merged with CenturyLink).
“In addition to the shakeup at the top of the leaderboard, U.S. Ethernet installations exceeded the milestone of 1 million ports in 2017,” said Rick Malone, principal at Vertical Systems Group. “Overall, the fastest-growing Ethernet deployments were driven by higher-speed cloud connectivity and IP VPN access. Service providers cite price compression as a continuing challenge, as well as delayed network purchase decisions due to SD-WAN evaluations.”
Four incumbent carriers – CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon and Windstream – and three cable MSOs – Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast and Cox – are represented on the list.
Comcast had the highest organic growth of the ranked companies in 2017, growing its base of Ethernet ports substantially without an acquisition.
Companies on the Leaderboard maintain 4 percent or more of the U.S. Ethernet services market, as measured by customer ports.