On Tuesday q announced the launch of its fiber-based, Mobile Ethernet Backhaul service designed for wireless providers. The new offering will leverage the company's existing fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) infrastructure to bring nearby towers online as well. Only wide use of fiber can provide the massive, scalable bandwidth that will be needed for the wireless networks to come. I have wondered when they would start offering such services, it seems like a no-brainer.
Unlike its larger brethren, Qwest of course does not run a wireless network, and therefore actually is an independent source of backhaul for competing wireless providers. And in the same vein, this offering is its only high margin exposure to the wireless business. On the other hand, one might argue that with the rise of the iPhone and the voracious data appetite of its users the consumer wireless business may lose some of its luster over the next few years and the less glamorous backhaul business may begin to really take off.
However, because of the more rural topography of its home territory, Qwest's FTTN infrastructure is still somewhat limited in scope and so will the availability of this fiber-based backhaul. Perhaps the added weight of a growing ethernet backhaul business will improve the business case for a wider deployment.
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