Lumen Technologies tops Vertical Systems Group’s 2021 U.S. Wavelength Services Leaderboard

Lumen Technologies finished first in Vertical Systems Group’s (VSG)  2021 U.S. Wavelength Services Leaderboard [1.].  Lumen, previously known as CenturyLink, has the benefit of a fiber footprint that expanded greatly with its Level 3 acquisition.  Lumen’s 2016 acquisition of Level 3 for $34 billion combined assets covering 200,000 miles of fiber, which included 64,000 route miles in 350 metropolitan areas and 33,000 subsea miles.  The service provider’s on-net buildings increased by about 75% to 75,000, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America.
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Note 1. A Wavelength Service is a large bandwidth connection providing high-speed Internet or data service delivered over lit fiber-optic lines using Dense Wave Division Multiplexing (DWDM) to create wavelengths or optical channels.
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The top eight wavelength services providers were: Lumen, Zayo, Verizon, AT&T, Arelion (formerly Telia Carrier), Windstream, Crown Castle and Cox Communications. This new benchmark measures U.S. market presence for wavelength providers selling retail and wholesale services.  Most of the companies on the leaderboard are US-based service providers with a significant number of fiber-lit buildings in the US, with the exception of Arelion, which is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden.
LEADERBOARD companies each have a one percent (1%) or higher share of U.S. wavelength circuits. A wavelength circuit provides a PHY layer dedicated bidirectional gigabit-speed optical fiber connection between two sites using DWDM.
“U.S. demand for wavelength services is rising to support mission-critical applications that require assured performance, deterministic latency and gigabit speed connectivity,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group. “Our forecasts show double digit growth this year, driven by high demand for 100 Gbps wavelength circuits.”U.S. Wavelength LEADERBOARD Research Highlights:

  • Customer demand for retail wavelength circuits exceeded wholesale deployments in 2021.
  • Revenue for U.S. Wavelength Services is projected to grow at a 13% CAGR between 2021 and 2026. This projection incorporates the effects of the COVID pandemic, including installation disruptions and chip shortages.
  • Six providers on the U.S. Wavelength Services LEADERBOARD also hold a rank position on the latest U.S. Fiber Lit Buildings LEADERBOARD – Lumen, Zayo, Verizon, AT&T, Crown Castle and Cox. Additionally, Windstream achieved a Challenge Tier citation.
  • Five U.S. Wavelength Services LEADERBOARD providers are also top ranked on the Mid-2021 U.S. Ethernet LEADERBOARD– Lumen, Verizon, AT&T, Windstream and Cox. Zayo has a Challenge Tier citation.

For year-end 2021, Market Players include the following wavelength providers (in alphabetical order): Altice USA, Armstrong Business Solutions, Astound Business Solutions, Colt, Consolidated Communications, C Spire, Comcast, DQE Communications, Epsilon, Everstream, Exa Infrastructure (formerly GTT), ExteNet Systems, Fatbeam, FiberLight, FirstLight, Frontier, Great Plains Communications, Logix Fiber Networks, LS Networks, Midco, Ritter Communications, Segra, Shentel Business, Silver Star Telecom, Sparklight Business, Spectrum Enterprise, Syringa, T-Mobile, TDS Telecom, Unite Private Networks, Uniti, US Signal, Veracity, WOW!Business, Ziply Fiber and others.

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This is VSG’s first Wavelength Services Leaderboard.  The market research group has previously published leaderboards for markets such as Ethernet and SD-WAN. VSG describes a wavelength circuits as providing a “Layer 1 dedicated bidirectional gigabit-speed optical fiber connection between two sites.”

While wavelength technology is about 20 years old, it’s experiencing a “rebirth because of the demand for very high speeds,” Malone said, adding that VSG clients have asked for an assessment of the market.

“The past five years or so, we’ve seen many more enterprises, cloud providers and hyperscalers buying up circuits. Now we’re in a phase where enterprises use it for data center interconnect, cloud connections and specific applications that require high bandwidth,” said Malone.

He thinks that AT&T (#1 in fiber-lit buildings) and Verizon (#2 in fiber-lit buildings) have focusing more on the mobile market, rather than wavelength services.   “If you looked at maybe Verizon and AT&T, their strategic focus over the years is more focused internationally, integrating their mobile operations with their other business units, and not as much focus on just high-speed connectivity between two pairs of sites for some of these networks,” Malone said.

Here is VSG’s latest fiber-lit buildings leaderboard, published in April 2021:

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References:

2021 U.S. Wavelength Services LEADERBOARD

https://www.lightreading.com/opticalip/verizon-atandt-lag-behind-lumen-on-wavelength-services-leaderboard/d/d-id/775651?

VSG LEADERBOARD : AT&T #1 in Fiber Lit Buildings

 

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