A New CFO For XO, Now What?

June 16th, 2009
 

Competitive telecommunications provider XO Communications today announced it has made Laura Thomas its new Chief Financial Officer.    This is an internal promotion, Ms. Thomas has been a VP of Finance for many years, stretching back into the pre-bankruptcy days.  She replaces Gregory Freiberg, who left the company in April to take up the CFO role at Savvis.  XO acted quickly and did not bother with much of a search for outside talent, but that isn't really a big surprise.  Given the current strategic environment, one has to wonder how long XO will remain independent and outside talent would probably require a rather golden parachute.  Besides, being CFO at XO isn't exactly [Read more →]

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PAETEC To Raise $350M

June 16th, 2009
 

Today PAETEC (news, filings) announced plans to sell some $350M in senior secured notes, and will use it to pay off part of its credit facility.  They are looking to take advantage of the window in the credit markets this summer, an opening that haw been widening by the week.  Two weeks ago, PAETEC negotiated a change to its credit agreement allowing it to buy back up to $100M in the market below par and loosened the covenants such that they could sell senior secured notes.  Apparently they meant business!  I don't know how many of the notes they managed to buy back below par, but with an additional $350M they should be able to [Read more →]

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Savvis and Global Crossing: Could That Work?

June 15th, 2009
 

Last week, comments by CEO John Legere of glbc  about M&A in the telecom sector were all but drowned out by the Sprint/Level3 joint venture rumor.  Certainly I let them pass at first, if only because they echoed earlier comments of his from several months ago.  It certainly does seem that the whole sector is available to talk consolidation right now, if unable to actually do anything about it.  But Legere did mention one rather intriguing option for his own company that I hadn't put any thought into:  Savvis (news, filings) [a subsidiary of CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL, news, filings)] .  [Read more →]

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Limelight Blends IPv6 into CDN

June 15th, 2009
 

Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW, news, filings) today unveiled IPv6 support for its CDN. Moves toward IPv6 have been gaining momentum lately, especially for those providing substantial services in markets outside North America.  NTT Communications (NYSE:NTT, news, filings) and glbc are particularly fierce about it.  Given that Global Crossing is reselling Limelight and also supplying it with underlying transport and transit, it is likely that they are involved [Read more →]

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Metro Fiber List Updated

June 14th, 2009
 

As promised, over the past two weeks I have updated my metro fiber provider list.  In my earlier note, I mentioned trying to get some European data.  I'm still trying, but haven't managed to add anything at this time.  As usual, the latest list is here, which you can get to via the Resources item in the menu bar above.  Several new providers have been added to the list - new to the list of course, each has been around longer than this site has. [Read more →]

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Metro Fiber Keeps on Chugging

June 12th, 2009
 

There has been something of a large network M&A rumorfest in the markets this week, but in the background everyone else just kept on going with normal business.  And metro fiber had a pretty good week, especially considering the relative paucity of PRs this quarter with actual contract wins.

TW Telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC, news, filings) announced an Ethernet-based voice and data network deal at the Kansas City Star covering 10 sites.  The key to winning the deal was [Read more →]

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Video Follies in the UK

June 12th, 2009
 

If you want a preview of what battles over net neutrality in the USA may evolve into, you need only look at the UK.  In a Financial Times article, British Telecom (NYSE:BT, news, filings) complains loudly about the demands caused by rising video usage.  As usual, thinkbroadband has good material on the subject.  While the BBC's iPlayer is the primary 'culprit', pretty much all sites specializing in video are now being deemed freeloaders.  BT wants them to pay for the extra costs, assessing some sort of licensing fee to deliver content to its customers.  What a mess that would be. [Read more →]

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By the Numbers: Sprint Wireline Versus Level 3

June 11th, 2009
 

With the new M&A buzz being the possible JV between Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings), there will come a whole lot of articles which spread the rumor but don't delve into the nitty gritty.  In fact, some will surely compare apples to oranges, and not realize it.  Therefore, I thought it might be useful to take both companies' operational performance and put them side by side in as close to an apples to apples comparison we can manage.  It cannot be perfect of course, but we can get pretty close just by following the following guidelines: [Read more →]

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Sprint, Level 3 Talking Joint Venture

June 11th, 2009
 

According to the Wall Street Journal, Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S, news, filings) and Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) are in early stage talks about a joint venture.  The WSJ has been rather noisy in the telecom merger area lately, most of the main 'Qwest is selling its longhaul network' stories originated there as well.  The Sprint/Level3 talks are supposedly at a very early stage, but Sprint's idea here is obviously to pull a Clearwire.  They want to take a division they are not willing to keep investing in, and fold it into part ownership of a new company that can and will invest in it.  [Read more →]

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AT&T’s Ideas for the National Broadband Plan

June 10th, 2009
 

Lightwave has a nice article on recent comments by Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) and AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) to the FCC about what should make up our national broadband plan, i.e. how to spend the stimulus and promote broadband penetration.  I recommend a read.  However, it can be hard to read such policy statements without having an allergic response to the extremely high levels of buzzword density.  Therefore, I'm going to offer a bit of, err, translation.  Here the 8 elements AT&T offers as central to the right plan: [Read more →]

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Ed Whitacre at GM

June 10th, 2009
 

Ten years from now, will former Ed Whitacre have a resume that includes the reconstruction of the power and prestige an American icon, and also briefly ran a doomed car company in Detroit?  Or will he be two for two?  Readers of Telecom Ramblings know him as well as any group, so what do you think:

[poll id="25"]

As a fan of competitive telecom I wish Whitacre hadn't done [Read more →]

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Equinix and Terremark Both Raise a Bundle of Cash

June 9th, 2009
 

Apparently the thawing in the credit markets has now calved an iceberg or two.  Yesterday, Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX, news, filings) announced they would sell $250M in convertible debt, and just twenty four hours later have raised that to $325M at 4.75% at a strike price of $84.32.  I wouldn't call it cheap money, at least not relative to a few years ago, but it isn't bad.  Equinix will use the cash to expand its footprint to meet demand, but didn't give any details yet.  Interestingly, they also entered into a capped call arrangement designed to reduce dilution, something vaguely similar to the bond hedge Level 3 had with Merril Lynch.  [Read more →]

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Level 3 Lights Its Way to Warsaw

June 9th, 2009
 

Not content with sending extra personnel and equipment into the wilds of upstate New York and southern Texas, Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) announced today that it is lighting fiber in Poland on a new route From Berlin, to Poznan, and on through to Warsaw.  Level 3 has had a PoP in Warsaw for a couple years now.  But while they lit fiber to Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Prague, the route to Warsaw they continued to serve via wavelengths.  With the new fiber route comes a larger relationship with Polish cable provider Vectra, and it gets them closer to Russia where a whole lot of its IP transit growth has been coming from lately. [Read more →]

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Juniper Introduces a 100GE Interface

June 9th, 2009
 

In the effort to reach 100Gps speeds, the lions share of the media coverage goes to the DWDM systems with companies like Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) and Infinera (NASDAQ:INFN, news, filings) demonstrating 100G transmissions over a few hundred miles, etc.  However, that's really only going to be useful if you have something to plug it into on each end.  Therefore, today's announcement by Juniper Networks (NASDAQ:JNPR, news, filings) is of equivalent importance.  Juniper introduced a 100GE interface to its T1600 router, becoming the first to commercially offer such a product.  [Read more →]

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Qwest: Just Kidding!

June 8th, 2009
 

Apparently, the bids really were too low, because today q publicly announced that it has decided not to sell its longhaul network.  They acknowledged there was an auction going on, but said that they did not get bids sufficiently high to make them want to do a deal.  The price tag of $2-3B that was unofficially placed on the asset was just not realistic at the current time.  Is it really worth that much to Qwest and not to Verizon or Level 3 or whomever?  Who knows...  All we can say is that this is a really bad time to sell stuff, and it was always rather odd [Read more →]

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Qwest Longhaul: The Icahn Factor

June 8th, 2009
 

Late last week, the Wall Street Journal reported yet again that bids for Qwest's longhaul network have been coming in rather light to say the least.  To readers of Telecom Ramblings, that probably came as no surprise given my earlier opinions on the subject.  But what intrigued me about the report was the inclusion of XO Holdings (news, filings) amongst those still interested according to many articles, because on their own that makes no sense at all.  Therefore, I really wonder if there could be something else going on here. [Read more →]

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Is HD Voice the Next Big Thing?

June 8th, 2009
 

Optimum Lightpath, the metro fiber and business services division of Cablevision, began offering HD Voice to its customers last week.  Lately, I have found myself wondering, just what the heck is HD Voice?  Not at a definitional level, that part is easy - HD Voice uses a wider channel and therefore just sounds so much better than a traditional phone call.  I mean, as a phenomenon does HD Voice really have legs? And if so, what kind of legs are they? Lately, VoIP bloggers have been making an increasingly loud roar on the subject, much of which seems to have come out of Jeff Pulver's recent conference.  Today Andy Abramson gave his endorsement to the idea it can re-invigorate the VoIP segment.    Those are certainly the right names in the VoIP blogging community to have behind you. [Read more →]

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Re-Introducing the Telecom Ramblings Forums

June 6th, 2009
 

Last fall I introduced a Forum on Telecom Ramblings in response to a multi-day outage on another site.  It was hurriedly done and not really up to the task at hand, and quite frankly the readership just wasn't wide enough yet to support it anyway.  But the dream did not die, and since then I have experimented with various forum software in preparation for another try.  The time has come, and you can find the new forums in the top menu bar under the name 'Community'.  You will also see the latest posts in the forum alongside the comment form beneath every post, and I may find other places to splice it in. 

The general idea behind my forums is [Read more →]

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Telx Raises a Pile of Cash

June 5th, 2009
 

Colocation and interconnection specialist Telx raised a tidy sum of $43.5M this week.  The new financing is being provided by CIT Communications, Media & Entertainment and RBC Capital Markets and both replaces an existing loan and adds new capital for expansion.  This seems like a further indication that the credit markets continue to thaw.  Money is available, though I'm sure it's still not cheap. [Read more →]

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Ciena Still Suffering

June 4th, 2009
 

Network equipment provider Ciena (NASDAQ:CIEN, news, filings) reported earnings today, and while the forecast is for improving weather their results show that it is definitely still raining outside.  Fiscal Q2 revenues of $144.2M were down almost 14% sequentially and 40% over the same quarter last year.  That's definitely nothing to write home about, almost everyone expected a decline but not that big.  The company reported a loss of $503M, but most of that was on a $456M goodwill charge which doesn't really mean very much at the moment.  However, adjusted net loss of $0.25/share was still not a happy number. [Read more →]

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On Level 3’s Regional Push

June 4th, 2009
 

Yesterday Brendan posted this question about Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings):

I am a LVLT shareholder, and it seems everyday when I check up on their news, they just upgraded an a regional network. What do these upgrades mean, and does it make any difference to a shareholder, or just a better experience to the customer.

This effort to reach mid-sized regional and local enterprises by Level 3 began last month, when they announced the it during their earnings call along with the first markets in the expansion.  I did write this article about it at the time, which still represents most of my thoughts on the subject.  Since then, the company has issued five PRs, one for each market - Washington DC, Colorado, Nashville, Seattle, and upstate New York.  In each they introduced the general manager for the market, listed how many thousands of enterprises their fiber passes in each, and announced an [Read more →]

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Undersea Upgrades Abound at Global Crossing

June 3rd, 2009
 

International fiber and data provider glbc announced a series of upgrades to its undersea infrastructure today.  According to the company, the moves come in direct response to traffic growth across the board internationally but most specifically into and out of South and Latin America.  In order to keep up, Global Crossing is adding [Read more →]

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CenturyTel, Embarq to be Renamed CenturyLink

June 3rd, 2009
 

When their merger completes sometime this summer, the union of CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL, news, filings) and eq will be known as 'CenturyLink'.  All that stands between them and that glorious title is final FCC approval.  That approval isn't really much of a hurdle of course, can anyone imagine the FCC saying no to this one after presiding over the reconstitution of AT&T?  Of course not. [Read more →]

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