Carriers to Acquire CDNs, again?

July 10th, 2008 by · 6 Comments

A Yankee Group analyst is now predicting that more carriers will be jumping into the CDN space by buying existing CDNs.  As I posted once before, I don’t think there is that big a hubbub here.  Certainly there are carriers sniffing around, and I do agree that Verizon or British Telecom might join the fray. 

However, if Verizon were going to buy a CDN, I think they would have done so by now.  One complication is the fact that Verizon’s rates for IP Transit in major datacenters are generally amongst the highest out there – which is another way of saying they aren’t very competitive in that market (as opposed to the corporate services and residential markets).  It is therefore a bit hard for me to see them hit the same market with a CDN product aggressively. Likewise, BT isn’t really a force in wholesale IP transit outside the UK, and most of their network in the USA and even much of continental Europe is leased wavelengths and such.  AT&T and Level 3’s behavior and focus seem more consistent with a CDN business than either Verizon or BT.

One thought that occurs to me, however, is that Cogent might be a buyer of a smaller CDN.  Cogent likes to be the price leader on IP transit but has been facing pricing pressure lately.  And since much of future internet growth seems likely to go through CDNs and not through someone like Cogent, it makes sense for them to make some sort of move here.  As a very recent addition to the Tier 1 network cartel, Cogent might be able to use that muscle much the way Level 3 intends to.  Of course, if history is any guide, Cogent + CDN = a vicious new price war, so perhaps I had better hope that thought stays hypothetical.

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Categories: Content Distribution · Internet Backbones · Mergers and Acquisitions

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6 Comments So Far

  • Dan Rayburn says:

    Right now, no one is worth buying except for Limelight or Velocix. The other CDNs don’t have enough revenue or IP. CDNetworks is a possibility but more complex due to the geographic area most of their business is in.

    You will see some announcements in the next two quarters by some U.S. and overseas carriers about their CDN plans. Some have already made their decisions and will announce their plans shortly.

  • Telecom Guy says:

    cogent + cdn equals patent lawsuit. only level3 and akamai have legitimate rights to the foundational intellectual property required to offer cdn. neither may have the stomach to go after the big boys, but both would relish the chance to take down cogent.

  • Rob Powell says:

    I think you have a strong point there, Telecom Guy.

    Dan, thanks for the update, looking forward to seeing those announcements… 🙂

  • nottlv says:

    I don’t know what their revenue is, but perhaps someone like PantherExpress would be a good fit for Cogent? They’re targeting the value market as well.

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