Last month, Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX, news, filings) announced its plans to design and build a carrier neutral ethernet exchange service. The biggest question was, what will the carriers think of it? Well, the initial response from next generation carriers has been quite positive. Today, the company announced that AboveNet, Exponential-e, Hibernia Atlantic, Level 3, PCCW Global, Reliance Globalcom and Tinet have signed up to participate in its development. And that's where we are right now, in development - there is no product here yet. But this is a nice selection of networks with which to try things out. Basically, it's a list of challengers to the status quo, exactly the type who would benefit the most from success of the project, and thus have a vested interest.
It is interesting to note those not on the list yet as well. The largest international carriers, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, BT, DT, FT, etc of course don't really feel they need it given their already global scope. They also tend to move a bit slower on such things. With their size, they can afford to wait and see if this is something they need to do - there's no urgency. Also not on the list just yet are TW Telecom and XO Communications in the US, and Colt and Interoute in Europe. I suspect that is because their ethernet offerings tend to be more on-net and regional, and thus they need less help - although I suspect they will join in sooner than the ILECs and PTTs if things go well. I am a bit surprised to see Global Crossing not in the game yet, I'll bet they will be soon though. Now, the new question is: can you put these 7 rather disparate networks in the same room and get anyone to agree on anything?
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