At least some veterans of the competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) industry might argue that “things did not go as planned” in the wake of passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Ignoring the huge bankruptcies in the sector, which were among the biggest results, other key business model elements did not work out as planned, either.
Initially, AT&T and MCI were the biggest CLECs in the market, anchored by their consumer efforts as much as business segment sales.
But MCI was absorbed by Verizon, while AT&T was acquired by SBC, which promptly rebranded the whole company “AT&T.”
Many business-focused independent CLECs went bust. But the most-successful consumer CLECs--especially in the consumer segment--wound up being the cable TV companies.
And many former independent telcos now earn significant revenues from their “CLEC” operations.
And now Verizon arguably has emerged among the nation’s biggest CLECs, by virtue of its acquisition of XO Communications.
In classic terms, Comcast and Charter Communications arguably are the largest U.S. CLECs, as measured by metro route miles. But XO Communications likely would be counted among the 10-biggest “CLECs,” on most measures.
Measured other ways, such by carrier Ethernet revenue, XO Communications might rank as high as second among all carriers, incumbent or CLEC.
Today, the business units of the nation’s largest cable operators (Charter Communications, Comcast and Cox Communications) are the fifth, sixth, and eighth largest providers of business Ethernet services in the United States, US Telecom argues.
Cable operator business customer revenue has been growing at double-digit rates for most of the period since 2004.
Metro Route Miles
Sunesys (Crown Castle)
Unite Private Networks
Southern Light Fiber
source: Fierce Telecom estimates