US broadband provider CenturyLink revealed plans to build more than 100 edge compute locations across the country, aiming to serve the growing needs of IoT, AI and machine learning applications.
The company will initially invest “several hundred million dollars” to build an edge compute network it said will be capable of delivering five milliseconds of latency, with capacity becoming available in 2020. It will also offer a variety of hybrid cloud solutions and managed services.
CenturyLink flagged mobile operators, cloud providers, enterprises and government agencies as potential customers.
Specifically, David Shacochis, CenturyLink VP of product management for hybrid IT solutions, told Mobile World Live the company envisions mobile operators using its edge services “for a range of computing initiatives, including support for evolved packet core infrastructure”.
The company is hardly alone in its edge compute quest: AT&T and Verizon have been pursuing the technology for some time, and data centre company Vapor IO is pushing to launch edge compute services in the top 30 US metropolitan markets.
But Shacochis said CenturyLink’s approach may be a bit different than mobile operators: “Our perspective on what digital business initiatives our customers are prioritising goes far beyond what use cases are ideal for 5G. We feel there is great benefit from taking a business-oriented approach to edge computing rather than a technology-centric view.”
In a research note, Wells Fargo Securities senior analyst Jennifer Fritzsche argued CenturyLink “for sure can be a player” in the edge compute market, given its status as the largest independent fibre provider in the US. “The edge cannot happen without fibre behind it,” she said.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back