Lumen ramps focus on Europe as fiber, edge demand grows

Lumen Technologies just inked a $2.7 billion deal to sell its Latin America assets to investment firm Stonepeak in a move designed to free up capital to pursue key growth areas. And moving forward, it looks like Europe will be near the top of its list of investment priorities. 

Laurinda Pang, Lumen president of global customer success, told Fierce the company hasn’t fully mapped out how it will apply the proceeds from the sale but noted generally they will be used to “give us flexibility and invest or accelerate some investments in growth areas.”

Last week, Lumen issued a press release detailing an expansion of its fiber infrastructure in France, Switzerland and Spain. Pang said it will “continue to make announcements with regards to infrastructure investments that we’re doing in the EMEA region.”

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Unlike Lumen’s U.S. business, the company’s EMEA operation does not include a consumer segment, focusing instead on enterprise and wholesale offerings.

Annette Murphy, Lumen’s managing director for EMEA, explained the region comprises approximately 30 countries. Within that area, its fiber focus is centered squarely on Europe given its infrastructure in the Middle East and Africa is primarily comprised of subsea and IP networks.

“So in terms of the investment that we will make, it’s more likely that we would invest in adjacent fiber rollouts to our existing fiber infrastructure as opposed to investing in what might be described as an island,” Murphy said.

As in the U.S., Lumen is pushing security and edge compute services alongside connectivity in Europe to drive growth.

“What we see in the marketplace is that demand for these services is growing and growing substantially. And we’re investing into and are well positioned to grow with that market,” Murphy said. She added “we’re also investing in increasing connectivity options and network capacity between Europe and North America to help meet customers’ growing international bandwidth needs.”

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Lumen launched a bare metal edge compute service in the U.S. in December 2020, and currently has more than 35 live locations in the country. The company is also working to deploy edge nodes across the pond, with Murphy stating deployments will span “multiple locations in the U.K. and Europe.”

A map on the company’s website showed Lumen’s edge bare metal sites were “coming soon” in the U.K., Spain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands and Sweden.

Murphy concluded “we will be able to share further details on the rollout soon.”