Backbone Service Provider

Broadwing, Austin, Texas

If there was an overwhelming choice within any category, it was Broadwing, best known for its national optical fiber backbone. Billed as the nations first intelligent, all-optical network, the backbone is a multivendor marvel, combining Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing fiber with Cienas optical core switching, Nortel Networks routers and ultra-long-haul gear from Corvis.

Broadwing has opened optical media centers in Cincinnati, Dallas, New York and Santa Clara, Calif., and has introduced optical Gig-E services, along with VPN services, nationwide. The optical media centers provide hosting facilities for applications that range from streaming media to medical imaging. Most recently, the company announced plans to partner with Siphera to extend the optical network to 11 cities.

Broadwing, under CEO Richard G. Ellenberger, recently reported its fifth consecutive quarter of revenue growth greater than 20 percent. The company has built its reputation on meeting speed-of-provisioning guarantees. It recently reported it had delivered 31 OC-192 (10-Gbps) segments, representing more than 310 Gbps in nationwide capacity, to a major carrier customer in less than 45 days.

"I think they are the ones pushing the envelope, and they are scaring the big players, which I believe is positive," Heckart says. "They have done a very good job integrating new technologies into their network quickly, without making a mockery out of the process, and looking at, testing or implementing every new thing out there."

Others receiving votes: None

Previous winners: Williams Communications (2000), Level 3 Communications (1999)