Verizon Arguably Now is Among the Largest U.S. CLECs

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.

Carrier
Metro Route Miles
On-Net Buildings
AT&T
940,000
20,000
Verizon
800,000
10,000
CenturyLink
250,000

Charter Comm.
150,000
75,000
Comcast Business
141,000

Frontier
78,838
6,300
Charter
65,000
13,800
Level 3
55,000
30,000
Birch
31,000
580
Cox
30,000
28,000
Zayo
28,798
16,712
EarthLink
28,000
426
Cogent
27,400
2,090
Lightower
20,000
8,500
FairPoint
16,000
3,600
Hawaiian Telcom
15,000

Consolidated Communications
13,038
4,804
XO Communications
13,000
4,000
Fibertech (Lightower)
12,200
10,389
Sunesys (Crown Castle)
8,656
7,202
Fiberlight
8,059
2,018
Lumos Networks
7,955
1,530
Cincinnati Bell
6,600
5,800
Cablevision (Lightpath)
5,800
7,000
Spirit/PalmettoNet
5,000
100
Unite Private Networks
5,000
2,500
Southern Light Fiber
5,000
3,437
Alpheus
3,250
337
Integra
3,000
3,000
Wilcon
3,000
1,014
FirstLight Fiber
1,600
1,500
US Signal
1,100
704
source: Fierce Telecom estimates




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