CenturyLink has captured the No. 1 spot on the latest LEADERBOARD
of U.S. Ethernet market leaders from Vertical Systems Group. It is the first time a provider other than AT&T has led the benchmark ranking since 2005.
Seven companies achieved LEADERBOARD status for 2017 (in rank order based on retail port share): CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Windstream and Cox.
CenturyLink’s advance was driven by its November merger with Level 3, 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 U.S. Ethernet LEADERBOARD.
To qualify for the LEADERBOARD, network providers must have 4 percent or more of the U.S. Ethernet services market. Shares are measured by the number of billable retail customer ports in service as tracked by Vertical Systems Group.
“In addition to the shakeup at the top of the LEADERBOARD, U.S. Ethernet installations exceeded the milestone of one million ports in 2017,” said Rick Malone, principal of 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.”
Overall, the US retail Ethernet port base grew 13 percent in 2017, and finished the year with more than one million ports.
Seven Ethernet providers qualified for the 2017 LEADERBOARD, as compared to nine in 2016. The two company exits were XO (acquired by Verizon) and Level 3 (merged with CenturyLink). As a result, the U.S. LEADERBOARD has no companies from the competitive provider segment for the first time.
Comcast had the highest organic growth of the LEADERBOARD companies in 2017, growing its base of Ethernet ports appreciably without an acquisition.
Six Ethernet providers meanwhile qualified for the 2017 Challenge Tier, as compared to four in 2016. New entrants Frontier and GTT moved up into the Challenge Tier from the Market Player tier, based in part on acquisitions of Ethernet assets. These companies join Altice USA, Cogent, Sprint and Zayo.