Published: October 19th, 2015

CenturyLink has announced it is going virtual.

The communications company today unveiled plans to build a network platform with software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) capabilities for self-service application and on-demand service marketplaces.

By the end of the year, the company said it will virtualize 40 per cent of its global IP core network locations, with full global virtualization coverage in IP core network and data centres by 2018.

“In the coming months, CenturyLink will begin deploying a range of virtualized data and voice infrastructure services, including virtualized Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) routers and Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) to enable dynamic delivery of scalable services for customers,” the company said in a statement.

As of today, its NFV platform spans 36 network and data centre locations in seven countries, which will turn to to 44 locations by the end of the year, it said. In the meantime, it is replacing hardware with software over its Programmable Services Backbone.  This had been underway since 2013, when CenturyLink partnered with Ericsson, Nuage Networks, Arista, Supermicro and Red Hat.

“CenturyLink is taking its network assets and combining them with our expanded NFV platform and cloud services to create a customizable and dynamic applications marketplace infrastructure that will give businesses near real-time provisioning and more control over their service experience,” said Aamir Hussain, CenturyLink executive vice president and chief technology officer.

The PSB platform will bring SDN and NFV functions to the company’s core and metro networks, and new next-generation customer-premises equipment, integrating the company’s networking, cloud, hosting and IT services into under one portal and set of APIs.