2010 Top Ten: Wireline Service Provider Trends

Wireline networks saw a huge move into cloud services, big demand from mobile backhaul, and an Ethernet revolution in 2010

December 28, 2010

7 Min Read
 2010 Top Ten: Wireline Service Provider Trends

While 2010 was a massive growth year for wireless networks, the wireline operators were going through their own kind of transformation, as more services become hosted, mobile device traffic grows exponentially, and IPv6 takes on a new urgency.

Following are the Top 10 wireline trends of 2010:

1. Overhanging clouds
A move to cloud-based services was central to the strategy of virtually every business services provider, focusing not just on selling centralized IT services, but also moving many other services from security to applications, into the network, to be delivered on-demand. This trend represents the intersection of service providers' need to generate revenues on top of their data transport services and business customers' need to outsource complex IT and communications services. Here's just a smattering of examples:

  • Orange Touts Cloud Wins

  • NTT Com Trials Mobile Cloud Service

  • Docomo Links LTE to the Cloud

  • BSNL Joins the Cloud Crowd

  • Windstream Buys Hosted Solutions

  • Colt, Unisys Team for Cloud Services

  • Telefónica Gets Cloudy With NEC

  • AT&T Preps for Euro Cloudburst

  • KT Launches Private Cloud

  • Cloud Is Everything

  • Verizon, VMware Create Cloud Services

  • Qwest Helps SMEs Avoid Cloud Disaster

  • SPs Combat Cloud Hype

  • VZ Biz Intros Cloud-Based SaaS

2. Mobile backhaul dominates
The mobile backhaul opportunity is hanging like a glittery ornament on the Christmas tree of every network operator, including telcos, cable companies, CLECs, and microwave operators. In fact, the network opportunity for connecting base stations to handle anticipated 4G and FauxG mobile demand is so large that major carriers such as AT&T and Verizon have publicly stated that it is driving their network-planning organizations, swamping everything else when it comes to planning network capacity. Fiber to the cell site is the nirvana, but other solutions are competing as well:

  • AT&T Says It's Ready for Wireless Growth

  • LTE Will Reshape Entire AT&T Network

  • LTE Backhaul? It's Complicated

  • Pyramid Launches IPTV Market Sizing Service

  • Cable's $5B Biz Services Bonanza

  • Fiber, Copper Cap a Wild Week for Backhaul

  • Qwest Reshapes Wireless Backhaul

  • Carrier Ethernet Switch/Router Market Grows

  • Verizon Discusses 1-Gbit/s Possibilities

  • Comcast Flashes Cash at Biz Services, SDV

  • Mobile Backhaul Driving Carrier Ethernet Success

  • Clearwire Gets a New Backhaul Buddy

  • Exalt Wins Backhaul Deal

  • Ethernet Quickly Eclipsing T1s for Backhaul

3. OTT video gets scarier
As expected, over-the-top video continues to explode, particularly as Netflix expands its streaming video options to include video game consoles. But service providers, particularly cable companies remain somewhat in denial, even as they adopt more of the technology coming onto the market to enable them to bring OTT video to the family via new set-top boxes. Despite losing 741,000 basic video subscribers in the third quarter of 2010, for example, cable companies insist cord-cutting isn't yet a big concern.

  • Subscriber Bleed Continues for TW Cable

  • Sezmi Still Seeking Telco Partners

  • IPTV Bogeymen: 2 Down, 1 Still Looms

  • Minerva Goes Over the Top

  • Verismo Gives Cable an OTT Weapon of Its Own

  • Cable-Tec Expo: Cable Grapples With OTT Video

  • TiVo to Measure OTT Video

  • Is Google TV Right for Service Providers?

  • thePlatform Goes Over the Top

  • Boxee CEO: MSOs Should 'Go Over-the-Top'

  • Cable Downplays 'Cord-Cutting' Threat

  • Discovery Exec: Free Web TV Is a Biz Kill

  • Cord Cutting Starts Small

4. Carrier Ethernet dominates
As detailed on these pages by the Etherman himself, Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard, Carrier Ethernet has become the dominant technology for data network infrastructure, as network operators look to deploy end-to-end IP in a simplified, scalable fashion. This trend is, of course, tied directly to No. 2 on this list, as mobile backhaul is driving Carrier Ethernet deployment, particularly for all-IP LTE deployments. New this year to the Carrier Ethernet market is the growth in Ethernet exchanges from companies such as CENX Inc. , Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX), Telx Group Inc. and Neutral Tandem Inc. (Nasdaq: TNDM).

  • Carrier Ethernet Switch/Router Market Grows

  • Accedian Touts 40,000 Cell Site Installs

  • LR's Ethernet Expo Shatters Attendance Records

  • Equinix Adds Exchange Customers

  • Cyan Highlights Ethernet Prowess

  • CEAP Market Powers Through Storm

  • CENX Adds MSO Muscle

  • Carrier Ethernet Market Off to Good Start in 2010

  • CESR Market Heading to $3B

5. CLECs aggressively consolidate
The hunger for fiber infrastructure, the move to cloud computing, and a greater desire for scale all drove the merger and acquisition engine for US CLECs this year, and it's all summarized here: What's Fueling the CLEC Buying Binge?.

6. Regulation re-enters the fray
Whether it’s the broadband stimulus, net neutrality or national broadband policy, the promise (threat) of regulation is affecting how US service providers view their future. The most recent FCC policy on net neutrality, for example, could set up a new regime of usage-based pricing that could transform the way SPs structure their broadband offerings. Below you'll find a summary of our coverage on net neutrality and a smattering of other issues as well.

  • FCC Votes to Approve Net Neutrality Rules

  • 2010 Top Ten: Net Neutrality & Broadband Policy Stories

  • AT&T Applies Peering Pressure

  • Level 3: Comcast Erected Web Video 'Toll Booth'

  • Net Neutrality: EU vs. US

  • Shawnee Picks Zhone

  • AirWalk Intros LTE Pico

7 . Vertical markets go viral
Financial services, health care, government/education, and retail are among the vertical markets getting special attention as business service providers add value to data services and -- they hope -- a new source of revenue. And telcos and CLECs are not the only one pursuing this kind of special attention, as cable is quickly getting into the act.

  • Cable Gets Down to Wireless Business

  • Intuitive Imaging Picks Allied Telesis

  • Cable in the Classroom Adds Tools

  • Optimum WiFi Does More Retail

  • Optimum Lightpath Takes Ethernet to School

  • Verizon Joins Texas e-Health Alliance Board

  • Wound-Care Firm Smiles Through Verizon Cloud

  • Colt Taps Infinera for Ultra-Low-Latency Service

  • AT&T Networks California Telehealth Initiative

  • Verizon Tailors Video to Criminal Justice

  • Verizon Tempts Retailers With Managed Services

  • BT Teams for Education Cloud Services

  • Lightpath Offers Interactive Patient Care

  • Orange Healthcare Wins Deal

  • Optimum Lightpath Takes Ethernet to School

  • AT&T: Healthcare Embracing Telepresence

8. Transformation with a small T
Service providers are generally not talking about grand transformational projects anymore, but internally they are working to continue cost-cutting, while restructuring to bring together their IT and network technology operations and generally streamline and reshape for all-IP networks. In general, this was a huge year for Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) in the wireline networks:

  • U.S. Cellular Believes in SPIT

  • AT&T Intros Avatar-Like 'Kate'

  • DiData Deal Spells Bad News for SIs

  • Telco SOA Market Changes

  • Colt Intros Apps-Centric SLAs

  • Tata Comms Opens Data Exchange

  • Clearwire's SPIT Stress

  • Telus: Billing Systems Must Enable New Apps

  • Software Sands Are Shifting

  • Delivering Better Digital Asset Management

  • Analyst: Data Analytics Needs Some TLC

  • SPIT Watch: Telco 2.0 Tools & M&A

9. The sky is -- finally -- falling
IPv6 is getting attention from service providers as the exhaust of IPv4 addresses looms in 2011, but many businesses are still not prepared and the consumer world is still largely unaware of changes that lie ahead. The coming year is likely to be a tumultuous one where this significant transition is concerned.

  • IPV6, MPLS-TP Are Hot, Says Forum

  • Cisco Touts IPv6 Stamps

  • Juniper Tools Up for IPv6 Migrations

  • Cox Tees Up IPv6

  • NetLogic Adds to IPv6 Portfolio

  • Report: Most ISPs Are IPv6 Ready

  • Hurricane Electric Spins Different IPv6 View

  • Cisco to Service Providers: Get Moving on IPv6

  • IPv6 Prep Warnings Get More Urgent

  • Verizon Offers IPv6 Transition Aid

  • NTT America Charts Future Plans

  • Too Many Not Ready for IPv6, Lab Warns

  • Comcast, ISC Go Open-Source With IPv6

  • Is IPv6 Finally on the Verge?

10. Rural broadband goes boom
The broadband stimulus funding had a lot to do with the surge in rural fiber-to-the-home projects, but even rural telcos and cablecos who didn't get government money made plans to upgrade their infrastructure, deploying GPON and even Active Ethernet to deliver triple-play services, including video.

  • Baldwin Telecom Picks Calix

  • Barrett Xplore Picks Ciena

  • Making Nice in Maine

  • Google Notebooks Come With Verizon 3G

  • Palmetto Picks Calix

  • Innovative Gets Tier 3 Middleware Deal

  • TelcoTV 2010: RUS Sends Friend Request to FCC

  • Mountain Rural Telephone Picks Occam

  • It's Leadership, Stupid

  • Highland Telephone Picks Calix E7

  • Zhone Lands NC Project

  • ADC Brings Fiber to the Prairie

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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