In a period in which the COVID-19 pandemic brought the US Ethernet market largely to a halt, seven providers qualified for the Vertical Systems Group mid-year 2020 Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard, the firm says. The top VSG carrier Ethernet rankings, in order, included CenturyLink, AT&T, Spectrum Enterprise, Verizon, Comcast, Windstream and Cox.

Each of those companies has 4% or more of the U.S. Ethernet Services market based on the number of billable retail customer ports installed. The computations are based on six categories: Ethernet DIA Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), E-Access to IP/MPLS VPN, Ethernet Private Lines, Ethernet Virtual Private Lines, Metro LAN and WAN VPLS.

It was a highly unusual period. “Port growth for the U.S. Ethernet market came to a halt in the first half of 2020 as COVID-19 abruptly altered customer networking requirements and impeded new installations,” Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, said in a press release about the VSG carrier Ethernet rankings. “Continued demand for Ethernet DIA services supporting VPN, Cloud and SD-WAN connectivity was substantively offset by declines for local Ethernet Private Line and Metro LAN services. Our outlook for Ethernet services is a slow rebound through the end of this year and into 2021 based on an incremental recovery of the U.S. economy.”

CenturyLink leads the Leaderboard, a position it has held since 2017. Share rankings remain the same as they were at the end of 2019, while cable MSOs had the highest port growth due to demand for high speed Ethernet DIA services.

The report looked at bandwidth and speeds. Total bandwidth for all Ethernet services in the U.S. is on track to increase by 20% this year. The largest segment is 100 Mbps based on customer installations and the fastest growing are 1 Gbps and 10-plus Gbps. CenturyLink is the only provider on the Leaderboard with MEF 3.0 CE certification, while Spectrum Enterprise employs the largest number of MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professionals of the seven firms.

The Challenge Tier looks at firms with between 1% and 4% of the U.S. retail market. In alphabetrical order, companies on this list are Altice USA, Cogent, Frontier, GTT, Sprint (now part of T-Mobile) and Zayo.

The press release about the VSG carrier Ethernet rankings also mentioned many companies in the Market Player Tier. These firms have port shares below 1%.

The telecommunications infrastructure segment is at a unique point. In the near-term, the pandemic has slowed enterprise investment and installations. However, the provisioning of the work from home, or WFH, segment with corporate-level connectivity is rising. The question going forward is the degree to which the boost to telecommuting and other geographically diverse work arrangements is temporary or permanent.

In June, VSG looked at the SD-WAN segment. It found that growth will slow from triple digits in 2019 to 17% this year. However, VSG forecasts a recovery during the fourth quarter and gains through 2024.

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