U.S. Cable Achieves an Ethernet First

MSOs Installed More Ports Than Incumbent Carriers In the First Half of 2013, Report Finds

Cable’s use of Metro Ethernet to target mid-sized businesses continues to make hay, and is evidently starting to put some hurt on incumbent carriers.

For the first time, U.S. cable operators installed more new Ethernet ports than their incumbent rivals in the first half of 2013, Vertical Systems Group principal Rick Malone noted in the firm’s latest market report.

“Competition was heaviest in the mid and small business sectors served by MSOs and regional CLECs, resulting in very favorable pricing for customers,” he said, in a statement.

Vertical Systems estimates that cable MSOs now make up 20% of the total U.S. Ethernet base. Incumbent carriers led the way with 47% of ports, followed by CLECs (33% of ports).

Despite cable's Ethernet upswing, only two MSOs made the firm’s list of top eight in terms of overall market share: Cox Communications (No. 5) and Time Warner Cable (No. 7).  AT&T was tops, followed by Verizon, tw telecom, and CenturyLink.  XO was sixth, while Level 3 held the No. 8 spot.  To make the Vertical Systems Ethernet leaderboard, a provider must have 4% or more of “billable retail port installations.”

Three MSOs qualified for the firm’s “Challenge” tier (1% or more of billable retail port installations): Charter Communications, Comcast, and Cablevision Systems’ Ligthpath unit. Among that group, Comcast Business launched MetroE services about two years ago, and estimates that 15% of revenues from the unit are coming way of its Ethernet portfolio.