SD-WAN joined COVID-19 in helping stall Ethernet port growth also year.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

February 24, 2021

2 Min Read
Internet, Ethernet, DSL

Lumen Technologies leads its fellow service providers in the latest Ethernet rankings.

Vertical Systems Group on Wednesday announced its 2020 Year-End U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. Lumen and AT&T continued their dominance of the rankings, finishing first and second, respectively.

Spectrum Enterprise rounded out the podium in third. The leaderboard had no changes from the 2020 Mid-Year and even 2019 Year-End leaderboards. However, the latest rankings reflect Sprint’s assimilation into the T-Mobile brand.


Source: Vertical Systems Group

Seven providers – Lumen, AT&T, Spectrum Enterprise, Comcast, Windstream and Cox – all landed in Vertical’s leaderboard, having earned 4% or more of the U.S. retail Ethernet service market. In addition, Altice USA, Cogent, Frontier, GTT, T-Mobile and Zayo slotted into the “challenger tier.”

Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group, pointed to two trends that inhibited ethernet growth in 2020: the pandemic and MPLS replacement. For example, the pandemic “severely impacted” E-access to IP/MPLS-based VPN.


Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“U.S. Ethernet port growth was flat in 2020 as service implementations were disrupted by COVID-19 and enterprises pivoted from Ethernet-connected MPLS networks to managed SD-WANs,” Malone said.

However, Malone noted the rising demand for multi-gigabit Ethernet connectivity. According to Vertical Systems Group, about 25% of retail Ethernet services run at 1 Gbps or higher.

Also, dedicated internet access (DIA) is growing faster than any other Ethernet segment. Vertical’s team attributes this to DIA’s popularity as an SD-WAN underlay service.

Vertical Systems Group measures the leaderboard based on the number installed customer retail ports. It factors into account DIA, E-access to IP/MPLS VPN, private (and virtual private) lines, metro LAN and WAN VPLS.

Lumen/CenturyLink has led the leaderboard since 2017 after it acquired Level 3 Communications. Edward Gately covered last year’s year-end leaderboard.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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