Internap Cuts 10%

April 1st, 2009
 

As almost anyone might have expected, Internap Network Services (NASDAQ:INAP, news, filings) last night announced that 10% of its workforce will be looking for work. These days, new management nearly always means layoffs, and with Eric Cooney taking over from Jim Deblasio as CEO two weeks ago it was just a matter of time. In this case, it is mainly back office staff positions and apparently several senior management positions. Those management guys were probably leaving anyway, but the positions won't be re-filled I guess. The cost savings will be approximately $5M annually, and the company will take a $1.2M charge in the 2nd quarter for severance and such. [Read more →]

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Level 3’s Crowe Achieves Enlightenment

April 1st, 2009
 

Kathmandu, Nepal: Sources within Level 3 indicate that CEO James Crowe has moved his office to an undisclosed monastery somewhere deep in the Himalayas, and has become a Buddhist monk.  This news finally lays to rest the simmering speculation regarding his trips to Asia over the past few years, where it is now clear he has been seeking both spiritual and technological enlightenment.  His duties at Level 3 remain unchanged and he will be melding his own new inner Qi with telepresence equipment from Cisco in order to conduct business in Broomfield remotely.  He can now walk anywhere on the Level 3 corporate campus as a fully independent and lifelike hologram. [Read more →]

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Limelight Opens a New Front Against Akamai

March 31st, 2009
 

Limelight Networks (NASDAQ:LLNW, news, filings) has entered the small object delivery and website acceleration market with a new product called LimelightSITE. Dan Rayburn has a great summary of the new product and where it fits.  Basically this is a well defended bastion of Akamai (NASDAQ:AKAM, news, filings) - the cash machine on which its margins really hinge.  To challenge Akamai here implies that Limelight is feeling increasingly confident, and it seems as if Akamai can do little more than play defense.  That's the price of being king of the hill, there is nowhere new to climb but there are plenty of ways to go down.  On the other hand, it's not exactly a bad problem to have. [Read more →]

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Profile: Hibernia Atlantic Comes Ashore – Part 2

March 31st, 2009
 

In part 1 of this profile, we looked at Hibernia Atlantic from the outside.  Here we get to hear from the company directly.  I had the opportunity to talk with Eric Gutshall, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing.  Eric has been with Hibernia Atlantic since its early days when it was little more than a mostly empty cable and a business plan, and has been an integral part of its development.

TR:
Where does Hibernia Atlantic see demand coming from in 2009? [Read more →]

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Profile: Hibernia Atlantic Comes Ashore – Part 1

March 31st, 2009
 

For the third profile in this series, Telecom Ramblings looks at Hibernia Atlantic.  The company opened its doors under the wing of Columbia Ventures six years ago with one asset: a shiny new transatlantic cable completed by 360Networks before its implosion.  That cable had a uniquely diverse northern route, but was still practically empty at the time and the transatlantic bandwidth market was in shambles.  For many, they fell off the radar screen or were just never on it.  Now as we close the decade, they have driven revenues toward the range of [Read more →]

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Pacific Crossing Prepares to Sell Out

March 30th, 2009
 

According to a report in the Financial Times, Pacific Crossing is about to be gobbled up.  The company, which runs the PC-1 cable between California and Japan, was once a part of the empire of glbc back in the bubble days.  After the crash, Pivotal Private Equity was poised to take control of the company out of BK court.  But that deal fell apart and then the assets spent an inordinate amount of time in BK court due to disputes over ownership of landing stations and compensation from its prior owners and such - it looked like they might stay in limbo for eternity.  But emerge they did, and after a few years on their own it now appears that PC-1 will now find a real home. [Read more →]

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Metro Fiber Providers: Relative Size

March 30th, 2009
 

Previously I looked at on-net building density as a way to classify metro fiber providers.  One of the major features that classification showed was that often smaller metro fiber providers tend to hook up more buildings per mile of fiber.  Now size isn't everything, but it does matter.  And to get a feel for the sector it is important to keep a feel for relative size of the participants.  Once again, this is not a race, just kind of a weigh-in.  I looked at two obvious metrics: [Read more →]

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The Perils of Integration Expertise

March 29th, 2009
 

In response to my post on the merits of a TWTC buyout of XO, reader BBS astutely commented:

"They have the integration expertise" this is a very subjective assumption. Xspedius may have gone well, but that, as they say is no indicator of future results. XO has integration experience too… remember Allegiance? How about LVLT’s integration experience, which by any measure historically has been abominably bad. Circuit Engineering, switch (hard or soft) and OSS platforms in the telecom industry are much harder to integrate than traditional operating systems such as CRM, HR, and others. As a MFSWorldCom vet, you can understand why I remain very skeptical of any claims of easy integration among telecoms/ fiber network providers.

Indeed it is a subjective assumption, and it is quite [Read more →]

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Why TW Telecom Should Buy XO Communications

March 27th, 2009
 

The other day I mentioned that TW Telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC, news, filings) seems like it should be ready to make a big move.  In 2009 the company became profitable at last, and entered this recession in a position of stability and with continued growth in mind.  Such difficult times as these can be opportunities for those with the means, and the lack of easy access to capital makes this a buyers market if there ever was one.  And there is one M&A possibility that stands out from the rest for TW Telecom, one that is both game-changing and entirely feasible:  XO Holdings (news, filings).  No, I have nobody whispering in my ear, in fact it is too quiet - as I have said.  I'll make the case as follows: [Read more →]

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Telefonica Selects Level 3 for National Wavelength Deal

March 26th, 2009
 

Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) announced today that it has been selected to provide wavelengths on a national scale for the international wholesale arm of European telecom giant Telefonica (NYSE:TEF, news, filings).  The contract, which expands on an existing relationship, is for 10 years and represents the single largest capacity commitment in Level 3's history.  They will provide triverse routes between major PoPs, diverse routes elsewhere, and have dedicated capacity available for expansion on each route.  Essentially, Telefonica has chosen to outsource the bulk of its US transport network for the long term. [Read more →]

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On the Threat from Efficient Cloud Computing

March 26th, 2009
 

On Seeking Alpha yesterday, Alex Salkever posted an interesting article discussing how efficient cloud computing may change the sector.  It almost certainly will, and I'd like to add my two cents on the subject.  Specifically pertaining to datacenters, he said:

"Data center operators like Equinix (EQIX) could also feel the pinch. They all expected massive demand for custom designed homes that featured servers and other critically important hardware used to run networks and businesses. But if there is less need for servers, there is less need for data centers."

While there is certainly a kernel of truth in that, there are several misconceptions [Read more →]

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Verizon Pushes Its Longhaul Vision

March 25th, 2009
 

Telecommunications giant Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) has been making the rounds lately with equipment makers, trying to convince them of its vision.  Verizon apparently likes the packet-optical transport system it uses in the metro so much that it wants something just like it in the longhaul too.  Their dream gear would combine optical switching, Sonet, and especially MPLS-TP rather than Ethernet.  If they can convince anyone to develop such gear, they hope to deploy it in the 2011-2012 time frame.  [Read more →]

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TW Telecom Expands in Portland

March 25th, 2009
 

Not to be outdone by the little guys, national metro fiber and services provider TW Telecom (NASDAQ:TWTC, news, filings) announced an expansion of its own today.  They have constructed a new fiber loop connecting Tualatin and Lake Oswego, including the Kruse Way business district, to the company's already extensive metro network.  They have long been active in Portland, even buying some of Enron's old fiber at one point.  This expansion follows a substantial expansion in Tulsa late last year, and TW Telecom is clearly not afraid to put capital to work despite the economy. [Read more →]

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Dutch FTTH Effort Finding Banks Unwilling

March 24th, 2009
 

According to Rudolf van der Berg over on Internet Thought, the FTTH effort in the Netherlands has run into a little snag.  What snag? Oh just that little thing called money.  The buildout is supposed to cost some $4B, however the partners KPN (NYSE:KPN, news) and Reggefiber were supposed to contribute only 25% each.  The rest was to come from the banks, and of course we know that banks all over the world have amazingly re-learned the word 'no' (or in this case perhaps  'nee') with a vengeance.  [Read more →]

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Fiberlight and Southern Light Advance

March 24th, 2009
 

As if we needed more evidence that the metro fiber sector remains strong despite the economic disaster that continues to unfold, in the last few days two of the companies I have tracked have found avenues for spending and growing their businesses.  Late last week, FiberLight (news) purchased a 20 mile, 96 count fiber network serving downtown Waco Texas from independent telephone company Consolidated Communications.  The new fiber joins other Fiberlight's Texas metro assets in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio.  While it is a small purchase, it continues the trend [Read more →]

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Vodafone and Telefonica Dance the Infrastructure Tango

March 23rd, 2009
 

Two European telecom powers, Vodafone Group (NYSE:VOD, news, filings) and Telefonica (NYSE:TEF, news, filings), announced today that they will share mobile network infrastructure in four countries:  Spain, Germany, Ireland, and the UK.  They will be sharing sites, masts, and power supplies, while each will use its own radios and vendors.  They will therefore be able to more quickly meet the needs of European consumers, who may be buying less phones due to the recession but are nevertheless [Read more →]

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Netflix Congestion: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

March 23rd, 2009
 

There has been substantial buzz over the last week or so about Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX, news, filings) and complaints from users about streaming difficulties.  As one might expect, some of the difficulties are simple confusion, but the phenomenon has been enough to prompt Netflix to respond on its blog.  Essentially, he blamed the ISPs for congestion problems in their networks.  That much should be obvious, it's rather hard to see Netflix deliberately slowing down its own service on some clients and not on others.  But this relatively minor flurry of criticism may foreshadow something Netflix's growing service is going to be facing all year.  Put together these pieces: [Read more →]

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Profile: RCN Metro Accelerates Into 2009 – Part II

March 20th, 2009
 

In Part I of this article, I gave my own impressions of RCN Metro's position in the sector and where they are heading.  In this part, Telecom Ramblings interviews Felipe Alvarez, President of RCN Metro.  Mr. Alvarez has been in the telecommunications sector for 20 years, and he came to RCN Metro via the acquisition of ConEd Communications in 2006 where he had been Chief Operating Officer.

TR: What effect has RCN Metro seen [Read more →]

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Profile: RCN Metro Accelerates Into 2009 – Part I

March 20th, 2009
 

Within the universe of metro fiber providers, the howling winds of the recession seem far away.  The services sold are rarely discretionary, the competition is light, and demand remains strong.  Against this backdrop, Telecom Ramblings takes a deeper look at one participant in this market: RCN Metro Optical Networks.  RCN Metro is a subsidiary of cable provider RCN Business (NASDAQ:RCNI, news, filings), but is run as an independent entity.  They generated [Read more →]

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Metro Fiber, Lit Buildings, and the Special Case of Cogent

March 19th, 2009
 

In sorting my lit buildings and metro fiber list, there is one clear outlier no matter how one looks at it.  Cogent Communications (NASDAQ:CCOI, news, filings) at latest report had 1,326 lit buildings connected by 12,200 metro route miles.  That's 9.2 miles between buildings, a sparse network that one might expect of a wholesaler or even the telecom division of an energy company.  Yet Cogent explicitly hooks up mostly enterprise buildings.  And while they certainly visit many carrier hotels, they have little if any use for ILEC central offices.  At first glance it's quite puzzling, but it all comes down to [Read more →]

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Interoute Grew at 32% in 2008

March 18th, 2009
 

As a privately held company, pan-European fiber operator Interoute (news) doesn't have to tell us anything. Therefore, when they do give us financial details then you know they must have had a good year.  Today Interoute announced 2008 revenues of €247M and EBITDA of €25M, up from €187M and €-6M in 2007, respectively.  That's 32% revenue growth, which is a heck of a number any way you count it.  Of course, it's hard to put that into dollars in a meaningful way given the huge swings in exchange rates lately, but in euros [Read more →]

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PAETEC Moves Into Fixed Wireless

March 18th, 2009
 

Competitive service provider PAETEC (news, filings) announced an expansion of its fixed wireless offerings yesterday.  They now offer the service across their serving area, which presumably means the McLeodUSA and USLEC footprints as well.  I hadn't known that PAETEC had a fixed wireless offering, but then again I hadn't actually looked either.  The capability derives from their acquisition of MPX Wireless. That was something of a stealth M&A, if nothing else then because today's PR and a brief quote in the Q2/08 conference call, I can't even bring it up on a Google search.  Ah well, maybe [Read more →]

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Foot Dragging on the Stimulus? Opportunity!

March 18th, 2009
 

There is an article in BusinessWeek today stating that large telecom operators like Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings), AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings), and q are dragging their feet on the stimulus.  They are grumbling and complaining that the regulations may be too onerous, that they might be forced to open those new networks to competitors.  After all, free money is supposed to be free, right?  What they're doing of course is trying to affect the final form of those regulations to their advantage. Besides, they don't actually need the money.  Sure they want the money, they'd be glad to spend it, but they generate so much cash flow already.  Besides, they don't actually care much about expanding broadband coverage and everyone knows it - those customers are already [Read more →]

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