And Infinera’s Tier 1 Customer Is … CenturyLink!

December 4th, 2012 by · 13 Comments

Several weeks back when CenturyLink announced its 100G product launch and expansion, the gear they were using was unspecified. There was speculation at the time that it was Infinera’s long awaited Tier 1 win for its DTN-X, and today that speculation became reality. CenturyLink has deployed Infinera’s gear in its backbone, the Tier 1 deed is finally done.

The interesting thing is that technically, Infinera has had this Tier 1 customer on the rolls for many years now. You see, there was once a metro fiber company called OnFiber who back in 2004 or 2005 signed on with Infinera’s first generation technology.  OnFiber, which not so coincidentally was co-founded by Infinera’s own Jagdeep Singh, was then bought by Qwest back in 2006 to bolster its on/off ramps, and of course CenturyLink then bought Qwest in more recent times.

But having a big customer who inherited some DTN gear in the metro is nowhere near the same thing as being selected to power the next generation of CenturyLink’s intercity transport network and IP/MPLS backbone, which is now the case.  CenturyLink is sitting on one of the largest national footprints of intercity fiber and conduit out there after all this consolidation, and is hence a major prize that competitors like Ciena, Huawei, NSN, and Alcatel-Lucent will have fought hard for.

Much of the speculation around Infinera’s Tier 1 breakthrough had been around Verizon, which had lent its name to the DTN-X launch last year. That story may yet develop of course, and will no doubt fuel further rumors.  But at least the ‘when will they get a Tier 1’ mantra can hopefully die at last, since it’s not that meaningful anyway given that nobody really agrees what the designation means other than ‘big customer’.  Revenues and profits are what really matter, and since the DTN-X is already deployed we’ll start to see a few dollars from CenturyLink appear in Infinera’s Q4 results on that front.

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Categories: Fiber Networks · ILECs, PTTs · Telecom Equipment

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13 Comments So Far

  • Anonymous says:

    while this is a signficant announcement it does not imply that the previous annoucement is related to this one. The 100G announcement a few weeks ago stated it was availabe in 50 markets which nearly matches how many add/drop nodes CTL deployed using the ALU Xtreme product. Infinera could not yet have been deployed on a grand scale yet. It just became commerically available and a Tier1 opperator will not widely deploy any technology until it has depoyed a beta route trial and fully vetted the product.

  • Robert Grutza says:

    Nope. This is not the big mystery Tier One everyone is waiting for. That would be… Verizon. Still nice to have this business though.

  • Anonymous says:

    I must ask again — does Level3 not use Infinera quite widely and are they not a shining example of the historical moniker ‘Tier 1’ (meaning settlement free peering to every route on in the global table)???

  • Anonymous says:

    they switched largely to Huawei, I think

      • Anonymous says:

        erm… he ain’t wrong. I guess there is still a ton of Infinera kit tho’, at the very least the GLBC stuff…but then GLBC were also using Huawei in several regions.

        Maybe they used up all that free cash that litters the floor and switched back?

        • Wrong in the use of the words “switched” and “largely”

          • CarlK says:

            Andrew Schmitt, you might try reminding these Anonymous’ or are they Ignoramuses that long ago and far away, Level 3 was partial seed capital for Infinera before they arrived on the public scene, and prior to exiting their whole stake after wards even while being the first Tier 1 back bone to incorporate their equipment with so many in their space following that trend subsequently.

            And, if you really want to piss “them” off, you can proceed by stating this was probably not by accident and a requirement by “The Natural All IP Consolidator” who would ultimately control the “end to end” seamless connections to every pair of eyeballs around the globe. It’s blasphemy in their mind’s eye, but so much fun to do! LOL!

    • Anonymous says:

      There is not a single optical transport account for Huawei in North America. Didn’t you hear about the hearings on Capitol Hill?

  • Anon says:

    Good win for Infiniera. But note that CenturyLink is a large rural LEC with alot of pstn traffic. But a “tier 1” IP / MPLS backbone they are not. Per Renesys “bakers dozen” they aren’t even on the board.

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