And some big public companies are standing out for being go-getters, pushing these technologies to the market early -- which has won them recognition in this year's Leading Lights Awards in the category of Best New Service, Public Company.
The ideas behind these services have been kicked around for a while. But the finalists have brought these services to life, delivering them to paying customers.
What constitutes a winner? Light Reading editors and Heavy Reading analysts will be considering each finalist to determine which one has most successfully deployed a market-leading, revenue-generating service based on next-generation telecommunications technology.
The winner in this and all other Leading Lights Award categories will be announced at our Awards Dinner after The Light Reading Telecom Investment Conference in New York City on December 14.
Here are the finalists, in alphabetical order:
Everyone's talking about Ethernet services, but it's the Tier 2 carriers that seem to be getting a jump on the idea. Broadwing embraces the idea of carrying voice and video over Ethernet, and officials say they're hearing interest from customers. But fitting these newly emerged Ethernet demands with Broadwing's installed network wasn't going to be easy.
So, the company jumped in with two feet, building a separate network to carry Layer 2 and Layer 3 virtual private LAN services across an MPLS core. The company announced the project in February, along with the choice of Tellabs Inc. (Nasdaq: TLAB; Frankfurt: BTLA) 8800 routers, and had the service ready for the offering in June. (See Broadwing Readies 'Unique' Network and Broadwing Picks Tellabs .)
The result is "what appears to be one of the industry's most robust intercity EVPLAN [Ethernet virtual private LAN] offerings," wrote Heavy Reading analyst Stan Hubbard in his Ethernet Services Carrier Scorecard. And considering some end users' frustrations at being able to find Ethernet services, Broadwing might have come into the market at just the right time. (See Reports: Carriers Acclerating Ethernet and Ethernet Expo: Shop 'Til You Drop.)
Fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) is on everybody's lips these days. The concept sounds simple enough -- letting one device shift between the cellular and land-line network at will -- but carriers are only beginning to implement it. Enter BT, which launched Fusion in June. BT hasn't yet disclosed any revenues yet, but Fusion has 22,000 pre-registered users, some of whom have the service up and running, so there's an impressive pent-up demand. (See BT Goes Blue and 'New Wave' Drives BT.)
Everyone claims to be working on FMC -- (NYSE: T) publicly challenged BT's claims to early leadership, and Unstrung uncovered Cingular Wireless LLC's FMC aspirations in September. (See AT&T: We've Got FMC Too and Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans.) Fusion seems to have the jump on other major carriers' initatives, though, thus earning a Leading Lights nod.
All three U.S. RBOCs are underway with fiber buildouts, but Verizon deserves credit for getting out there early and for offering up broadband TV, a service that could be the telco's savior against aggressive cable competition.
Verizon isn't the first telco with TV -- (NYSE: BLS) offers digital cable -- but the aggressiveness of its FiOS buildout deserves merit. By not staking itself to IPTV, Verizon got the jump on BellSouth and AT&T, rolling out FiOS TV on an RF channel, the way cable companies do. That gives Verizon an immediate video play while the company waits for IPTV technology to mature.
FiOS TV debuted in Keller, Texas, in September, after Verizon was granted a video franchise there in February. And a second city -- Herndon, Texas -- was added to the map just yesterday. (See Verizon Sets TV Precedent and FIOS Hits Herndon .) Verizon has also been issued a video franchise by the state of Texas and the city of Woburn, Mass., so it will likely show up in more customer living rooms by year's end.
Competiton will be tough. In addition to competing with cable companies, Verizon will square off against fellow RBOCs in some markets. AT&T, in fact, expects its Project Lightspeed fiber buildout to reach 2 million customers by the end of 2005. Still, Verizon's headstart will serve it well, as the carrier claims its FiOS fiber network will reach 3 million customers by year's end, with another 3 million to come in 2006. (See SBC on Lightspeed: Full Fiber Ahead and Verizon Connects for Big Q3.)
— The Staff, Light Reading