CenturyLink rebrands as Lumen Technologies

It's a bold, new era for CenturyLink as it rebrands under three separate entities: Lumen Technologies, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber.

Lumen Technologies' platform brings together a global fiber network, edge cloud capabilities, and security and communication and collaboration solutions while Quantum Fiber is a subscription-based, fully digital platform for delivering fiber-based products and services to residents and small businesses.

The CenturyLink brand will continue to be used for residential and small business customers over traditional networks.

CenturyLink has come a long way since it was founded as a regional telco in Monroe, Louisiana back in 1968. The new brand name is a reflection of Lumen's focus on enabling enterprises to navigate the challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, which include digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and autonomous vehicles. Lumen brings both edge compute and intent-based networking, among other capabilities, into the fourth industrial revolution.

Aside of the new branding, Lumen sports its own stock ticker (LUMN) as it groups the more profitable parts of what was traditionally CenturyLink away from the less profitable residential and small business services. At the opening of trading on on Friday, the company stock ticker will change from CTL to LUMN. The company doesn't intend to change its financial strategy or reporting going forward.

"For the past three years we have been reinventing ourselves and repositioning the company to deliver on a brand-new promise: Furthering human progress through technology," said Lumen CTO Andrew Dugan, who held the same title at CenturyLink. "We have been considering this change for many months. We are ideally positioned to help resolve the biggest data and application challenges of our time—this is why now is the right time to introduce Lumen."

Lumen blends the global fiber network infrastructure, edge cloud capabilities, security and communication and collaboration solutions—together as a foundation for application and data services that are even more vital during Covid-19.

In a nutshell, Lumen provides the ability to control latency, bandwidth and security for applications across cloud data centers, the market edge and on-premises, according to a blog by Dugan. Instead of putting critical applications into a centralized cloud, Lumen's edge compute platform, which includes more than 100 active edge compute nodes across large metro markets in the U.S—puts them closer to the end user for low latency and better security.

"The Lumen brand is focused on supporting our enterprise business customers. It alludes to our network strength and to the incredible capabilities powered by our platform to help transform how businesses operate," Dugan said.

The four key pillars of the Lumen platform are adaptive networking, which includes intent-based networking that was a focus of Level 3 prior to it being bought by CenturyLink four years ago, edge cloud and IT agility, connected security and communications and collaboration.

Lumen also announced Quantum Fiber on Monday.

"Quantum Fiber is an important new brand within Lumen with a focus on superior fiber connectivity and a fully enabled digital customer experience," Dugan said. "Quantum Fiber serves residential and small business customers, and Lumen focuses on enterprise, government and global businesses."

In 2019, CenturyLink expanded its fiber network to reach an estimated 300,000 additional homes and small businesses with its gigabit service. CenturyLink's consumer fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) projects provide symmetrical speeds of up to 940 Mbps. The faster speeds were enabled in parts of Boulder, Colo., Spokane, Wash., and Tucson, Ariz. last year.

CenturyLink previously said it would build out its fiber network to an additional 400,000 homes and small businesses this year, including in Denver, Omaha, Neb., Phoenix, Portland, Ore., Salt Lake City, Spokane, Wash., and Springfield, Mo.

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All told, CenturyLink had about 450,000 global route miles of fiber across its network prior to the new brand name, with previously announced plans to add more fiber this year.

Thanks to its fiber first strategy, CenturyLink transformed itself from a traditional, legacy telco into a company that is more focused on fiber-based enterprise services and applications. Lumen is built on the back of fiber conduit that previously belonged to companies such as Level 3, Qwest, Broadwing and WilTel.

As CenturyLink switched its focus to providing fiber-based services, it has long-considered selling off some of its less profitable assets, such as the consumer division. By splitting of the more lucrative assets into Lumen, the remaining CenturyLink residential and small business assets could now be better positioned for a sell-off. Last year, CenturyLink hired financial advisors to help it decide which, if any, assets would be sold.

"We will consider all opportunities that could be improve shareholder value," Dugan said. "This (Lumen) was a proactive and strategic move to more accurately reflect the company we are today. We continue to be focused on the best ways to support our consumer customers, provide value to our shareholders, and offer growth opportunities for our business. We are always evaluating options that allow us to deliver additional value."

Dugan said he couldn't provide a cost figure in regards to re-branding the CenturyLink logo and advertising to Lumen, but said Lumen is in the early stages of the re-branding process.