CenturyLink Drops 'Several Hundred Million' Dollars on Edge

Mitch Wagner
8/12/2019

That was fast. Last week, CenturyLink's CEO said the company could be a big player on the edge and would have news about its edge computing ambition in "coming weeks."

And now that news is here. CenturyLink said Monday it is making a "several hundred million dollar" investment in edge computing services, creating more than 100 initial edge compute locations across the US and providing hybrid cloud and managed services.

CenturyLink is looking to serve companies building next-generation Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, which require capacity at the local edge and public cloud core. This capacity needs to combine compute, storage and networking in an integrated package, CenturyLink says.

These next-gen applications require low latency; CenturyLink says it can deliver 5 milliseconds. The applications also require high bandwidth, and workloads need to run in particular geographical locations, often due to regulatory concerns requiring that data resides in the nation or other political jurisdiction where it originates.


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CenturyLink sees potential customers as being enterprises, hyperscalers, wireless carriers and systems integrators.

On an earnings call last week, CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey said the company's fiber network combined with edge computing cloud is "a very powerful and differentiated service offering" for "retail, banking and really anyone that has a large number of dispersed service locations that need to process large amounts of data in real time."

CenturyLink already has an edge computing infrastructure with an unnamed customer with a total 2,000 locations nationwide, Storey said.

CenturyLink faces competition on the edge. AT&T and Microsoft signed an "extensive" deal for the cloud, 5G, AI and edge last month. And Verizon announced its Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) platform in February.

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