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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XO Presses Onward

March 17th, 2009
 

Alternative network services provider XO Holdings (news, filings) reported earnings after the bell, finally drawing a close to 2008 with their habitual last minute filing.  Revenue grew sequentially to $375.2M and EBITDA of $34.4M was reasonably solid.  The company therefore met its annual EBITDA guidance easily and exceeded the top end of its revenue guidance range by $5M.  That doesn't mean XO is burning up the tracks - its annual revenue growth of 3.4% for 2008 remains weak compared to the field.  Yet given the financial crisis we can say that the company's operations don't seem to be showing the strain that its shareholders [Read more →]

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Abovenet Catches Up At Last!?

March 17th, 2009
 

Metro fiber specialist abvt did something today that they haven't done since imploding spectacularly way back in 2001.  They reported fourth quarter and full year 2008 earnings on time!  What's more, they promised to hold earnings conference calls starting with the first quarter results, and will apply for a listing of their common stock on a national exchange.  I have given them grief about it several times since starting this blog, so congratulations are in order for CEO Bill LaPerch and his team.  Many thought they would never come out of that cocoon.  [Read more →]

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Cisco Gives the Status Quo a Good Shake

March 16th, 2009
 

Today Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO, news, filings) unveiled its Unified Computing System, amidst great fanfare and of course an amazing blast of marketing material.  Not content to merely release the new product, they included partnerships with VMWare, Accenture, BMC, EMC, and Red Hat.  One would think they might want to space out the news, we're talking information overload here.  After you get past all the buzzwords, what exactly is [Read more →]

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Twitter Works Again, and About Using Facebook Connect

March 16th, 2009
 

A few details for regular readers.   First, my twitter feed was down for about a week, but is back up now.  Why was it down?  I have no idea, if I had to guess it would be that Twitter's automated and poorly aimed anti-spam nets somehow snagged me.  I emailed them and after waiting patiently for 5 days they turned it back on without ever acknowledging me in any way.  Secondly, some of you may have noticed the Facebook Connect item that started in the sidebar and now sits next to the comment form. [Read more →]

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Metro Fiber Providers: Classification Attempt

March 16th, 2009
 

Last week I published an update to my metro fiber and lit buildings list.  Today I will begin looking at the collected data and try to make sense out of it.  First though, I have switched the raw list to alphabetical order after several requests.  I was getting a bit ahead of myself, ordering by 'route miles per building' was for this post.  What I have learned from this metric is not who is the best or most successful in metro fiber, it's not a race.  Well, each business is in its own competition of course, but in this case it is usually against the ILEC more than anyone else on the list.  Rather, what one sees quickly when ordering by this metric is [Read more →]

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When Google Talks, People Listen

March 15th, 2009
 

Late last week, Google let the world know what it has done with GrandCentral, the voip company they bought over a year and a half ago.  The upgraded service, Google Voice, is designed to fit inside the world of GMail and Google Docs, and looks really slick.  Or at least the marketing package looks really slick, so far the service is only available as an upgrade for existing GrandCentral users.  The rest of us just get to watch for now.  The blogosphere is of course boiling over about it, and I don't blame them - this is the first really [Read more →]

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Level 3 Wins at M3X, MDI

March 13th, 2009
 

Level 3 Communications (NYSE:LVLT, news, filings) has been pretty quiet lately, but managed to announce a few wins this week.  The first came from their Business Markets group.  MDI Holdings selected Level3 for direct connections between its main locations: two in Florida, two in California, and one in Texas.  The multi-year contract includes voice and data services over an IPVPN.   MDI specializes in health care management, i.e. appointments, claims processing and payment, etc.   The Business Markets group has had some trouble over the last year finding a path to growth, but it does seem to have some traction [Read more →]

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Internap Comes In Light

March 13th, 2009
 

Boutique internet and colocation provider Internap Network Services (NASDAQ:INAP, news, filings) reported earnings after the bell.  Revenues of $64.2M were down sequentially from the third quarter's $65.4M, and a bit lower than expected.  IP services revenues came in light at $30.1M and CDN services declined a bit as well, partially offset by the usual increase in colocation revenue.  As a result, for the full year the company grew revenues by 8.5%, just missing its 9-13% growth projection.  Given the extent of the economic mess, I did not expect Internap to see growth this quarter and hence I wasn't surprised.   As a high end provider to mid-sized web-centric companies, [Read more →]

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Lit Buildings and Metro Fiber Update – March 2009

March 12th, 2009
 

As promised, I have updated my list of metro fiber providers and lit buildings. The list itself will no long live in a post with a published date that quickly scrolls off the bottom of the screen. I have found it useful to have around and searching for it was annoying. Therefore I have given it a permanent page of its own that you can access off the top menu bar, underneath the 'More' item. [Read more →]

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Comcast: We're Number 3

March 12th, 2009
 

Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA, news, filings) today staked a claim to the #3 slot in US home phone subscribers, based on its current 6.47M as compared with the 5.96M of q.  Of course, in terms of total phone lines Qwest has 6.5M, and it isn't clear to me which number Comcast is comparable to.  What does it matter?  It doesn't.  Whether this milestone was passed or will be passed is irrelevant, the trend is clear.  Qwest is losing landlines steadily while Comcast is gaining them just as steadily, and therefore it was a foregone conclusion that this day would come.  It doesn't seem likely [Read more →]

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Clearwire Hires Morrow

March 11th, 2009
 

WiMax protagonist clwr hired a new CEO yesterday:  William Morrow who was CEO of Pacific Gas & Electric.  Despite his recent home in the energy sector, he has pedigree in the wireless business with executive roles at Vodafone and Japan Telecom.  I wonder also if there isn't an energy angle here, the energy utilities have towers and many have fiber - Morrow might be able to interface with them better given his background. He will replace Wolff as CEO, Wolf will become co-chairman.  The move may have surprised some, but [Read more →]

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Verizon Business Keeps DISA Contract

March 11th, 2009
 

In news that won't surprise anyone much, Verizon (NYSE:VZ, news, filings) Business has won the DTS-P II contract from DISA, providing network and data services to defense sites in the Expanded Asia Pacific Region.  Why the government needs to expand a region which covers two-thirds of the globe is beyond my ken, but it includes the Caribbean as well.    This will replace the DTS-P contract vehicle, which was of course already held by Verizon Business.  The new contract is worth a maximum of $2.5B over ten years, so it isn't chump change.  I assume this is not part of the Networx Universal or Enterprise?  Nevertheless, congrats to Verizon Business - government contracts are nice work when you can get them, at least after [Read more →]

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Profile: Global Crossing in 2009 – Part I

March 10th, 2009
 

In what I hope will be a regular new feature on Telecom Ramblings, I will be talking with companies in the sector - large and small - and assembling a profile of where they stand this year, where they hope to go, and what they may face in this challenging economic environment.  The first company I will look at is glbc, whom I had the opportunity to speak with recently.  [Read more →]

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Profile: Global Crossing in 2009 – Part II

March 10th, 2009
 

Part I of this two part series focused on my own impressions of glbc.  In Part II, we hear from the company directly.  Recently,  I had the opportunity to ask Gary Breauninger, Chief Administrative Officer of Global Crossing, a series of questions.  Gary has been with Global Crossing for many years, serving previously as chief marketing officer, senior vice president for planning and business finance, and a number of other executive roles.  In January of 2009, Gary shifted over to his current position as Chief Administrative Officer. [Read more →]

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Comparing Disasters

March 9th, 2009
 

On Friday, a blog on the Wall Street Journal site discussed a new milestone that we recently passed.  The marketcap of financial shares in the S&P 500 is now down 83% from its high, surpassing the low point after the tech bubble popped when the marketcap of technology shares fell 82% from their peak.  The article then notes similarities and differences between this crash and that one,  notably this bit which as a tech crash survivor I take slight issue with: [Read more →]

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Zillion TV Raises the Curtain

March 9th, 2009
 

Zillion TV, a new entry into the internet video market, emerged from stealth mode over the weekend.  Contentinople has a nice article,  and the mainstream press has it all over the place (LA Times, Forbes).  The startup has powerful backers and partners and seem to be heading for a quick start, planning to have 15,000 titles online by the end of the year.  I like the name, but I'm somewhat skeptical about the business model.  Here are the main features as I currently understand them. [Read more →]

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