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Lumen’s plan to increase locations reached by fiber from the current 2.5 million to 12 million represents a five-times increase over the company’s traditional deployment rate, noted Lumen President and CEO Jeff Storey on a webcast with investors today.

Those deployments target the 16 states that Lumen will retain after plans to sell its local exchange business in 20 states to Apollo Funds are completed. That transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

More than two thirds of the markets that Lumen will retain (70%) are in metro areas, where the company is targeting a deployment cost below $1,000 per location, Storey said.

“We’ve rewritten the consumer playbook,” said Storey, noting that the company is now positioned as an “all-digital fiber brand.”

Like other broadband providers that have relied, in large part, on traditional copper network infrastructure, Lumen has been losing broadband customers in recent years. The company hopes that its investment in fiber will reverse that trend and has set a goal of returning to revenue growth within two to three years.

Common Concerns

It’s a similar theme to what we heard yesterday from Scott Beasley, EVP and COO for Frontier – another company that has stepped up its fiber investment.

Beasley said he was confident that the symmetrical fiber the company is deploying will be very competitive.

Storey was equally bullish about Lumen’s competitive position in fiber markets.

“Fiber wins,” he said. “If you are competing with any other technology, fiber wins.”

Not surprisingly, considering Lumen’s emphasis on the business market, Storey went on to note several advantages that are likely to be most appealing to business customers.

“Because we are a fiber-based platform… bringing our services to our customers with the connectivity of the fiber but also to cloud service providers, major data center providers,…private data centers of our customers [and] to eyeball networks,” he said, “we are in an excellent position to… help [customers] acquire their data, analyze their data [from] all of these different cloud options… and then act on their data.”

Storey made his comments at the CitiApps Economy Conference. A replay is available at this link.

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