CenturyLink places “several hundred million dollar” bet on the Edge

  • The CSP will make “major investments” in Edge compute services
  • Follows news of a major US-based trial
  • Wants to offer edge latencies of 5ms or less
  • Will start by creating 100 new edge sites in the US

US-based global operator CenturyLink has announced the rollout of its new edge-focused strategy, beginning with what it says is a “Several hundred million dollar investment” to build out and support edge compute services. This rather vague investment promise includes creating more than 100 edge compute locations across the US and providing a range of hybrid cloud solutions and managed services.

"Customers are increasingly coming to us for help with applications where latency, bandwidth and geography are critical considerations," said Paul Savill, SVP Product Management, CenturyLink. "This investment creates the platform for CenturyLink to enable enterprises, hyperscalers, wireless carriers and system integrators with the technology elements to drive years of innovation where workloads get placed closer to customers' digital interactions."

Unfortunately, CenturyLink provides no technology details of its ambitious plan. What this platform comprises, and what the “technology elements” are exactly are being kept under wraps for now. The CSP does says that the resulting service from its new edge facilities will give its customers “5 milliseconds of latency”, and that the infrastructure will be able to “complete the linkage from office location to market edge compute aggregation to public cloud and data centers with redundant and dynamically consumable network”.

CenturyLink says its global network now comprises of 450,000 route miles of fibre, connecting over 2,200 public and private data centres and over 150,000 on-net, fibre-fed enterprise buildings. It is also increasing access to its services by expanding network colocation services in many key markets to enable customers and partners to run distributed IT workloads close to the edge of the network. It adds that its expertise in high-performance cloud networking and cloud management expertise makes this new investment in the edge compute market a natural evolution for the company.

"Digital transformation is gaining momentum as enterprises across all verticals look to technology to improve operational efficiency and enhance the customer experience," added Melanie Posey, Research Vice President and General Manager at 451 Research. "As business processes become increasingly distributed, data-intensive, and transaction-based, the IT systems they depend on must be equally distributed to provide the necessary compute, storage and network resources to far-flung business value chains." 

Only last week, CenturyLink CEO Jeff Storey mentioned during its quarterly conference call that it wanted to be a major player in the edge compute market, especially to serve the needs of its customers who have “a number of dispersed service locations that need to process large amounts of data in real time”. He added that his company was already trialing an edge service with one of its major US-based customers that operated two thousand locations, to see if it could migrate its data processing from these sites to just 100 new edge locations.


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