CenturyLink is Infinera's Tier 1 DTN-X customer

Revealing what a company source called “the worst-kept secret in optical communications,” Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ:INFN) has announced that CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) is its oft-speculated Tier 1 customer for the DTN-X. CenturyLink has begun to deploy the DTN-X as part of its nationwide 100-Gbps roll out.

Revealing what a company source called “the worst-kept secret in optical communications,” Infinera Corp. (NASDAQ:INFN) has announced that CenturyLink (NYSE:CTL) is its oft-speculated Tier 1 customer for the DTN-X (see “Guess that customer!”). CenturyLink has begun to deploy the DTN-X as part of its nationwide 100-Gbps roll out.

Infinera and CenturyLink are releasing few details of the deployment, although CenturyLink is not using the Instant Bandwidth capabilities Infinera recently announced. As reported previously, CenturyLink is using multiple vendors for its 100-Gbps upgrade, including Alcatel-Lucent (see “CenturyLink deploys 100 Gbps via multiple vendors”). “As CTL noted in 100G press release, the goal of placing 100G across a backbone (including metros) involves many vendors,” commented Pieter Poll, CenturyLink senior vice president of national and international network planning, engineering and construction, in a written response to Lightwave queries. “We acknowledged that the ALU 1625 was one of those vendors, as we announced this in 2009. We are pleased to have Infinera and the DTN-X as another partner in our build.”

Neither Poll nor Infinera would say where the DTN-X has been deployed so far, the value of the contract relationship between the two companies, or how long the contract runs. “There is no defined start or end point,” wrote Poll. “Again, CTL's goal is to have 100G available across the footprint. This is a multi-vendor network and vendors compete for growth across segments. However, CTL manages this as ONE network for our customers.”

Speculation over Infinera’s Tier 1 customer began as soon as the company announced this past April that the DTN-X had embarked on the OSMINE program that certifies products will operate with the Telcordia operational support systems (OSSs) that former Regional Bell Operating Companies such as CenturyLink, AT&T, and Verizon use (see “North American Tier 1 customer in Infinera's sights?”). Some media outlets and others had speculated that Verizon was Infinera’s customer, based in part on Verizon’s interest in the type of features the DTN-X offers as well as the fact Verizon’s Stu Elby spoke at the press event Infinera held to announce the platform.

However, CenturyLink already had Infinera DTN platforms in its network, thanks to the Qwest acquisition, which opened the door for the DTN-X. “We evaluated the available 100G solutions for long haul optical transport and the DTN-X platform stood out,” said Matt Beal, CenturyLink senior vice president - corporate strategy, product development, and chief technology officer via an Infinera press release. “Our experience with the Infinera DTN platform has demonstrated a system based on quality, ease of use, proven technology and reliability. As a customer since 2004, we look forward to including the DTN-X as part of our next generation network and achieving the same positive results as we have in the past.”

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