Bright House Networks recently landed a deal to provide Ethernet-based backhaul services to MetroPCS Communications' networks in Orlando and Tampa Bay, Fla.

With the agreement, MetroPCS is using Bright House Networks' fiber-based Ethernet services at its cell tower sites as it rolls out its 4G LTE network. Financial terms of the deal weren't available.

"We are once again pleased to provide reliable and cost-effective solutions to businesses of all sizes throughout our markets," said Nick Lenoci, corporate vice president of business solutions at Bright House Networks.

Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications is a provider of unlimited wireless communications service for a flat rate with no annual contract. MetroPCS is the fifth-largest facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States based on the number of subscribers served. At the end of last year, MetroPCS had more than 8.1 million subscribers.

While Cox Communications has profited from providing cellular backhaul services for more than 10 years, other large cable operators, including Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Comcast, have entered the sector over the past few years as wireless operators provision their LTE networks.

Time Warner Cable's fourth-quarter cell backhaul revenue was $26 million last year, which was equal to the total amount of cell backhaul revenue in 2009.

With Ethernet and IP-based access points at the cell towers, cable operators can offer scalability as the wireless carriers' demand for bandwidth grows over time.

According to Infonetics Research, IP/Ethernet equipment spending for mobile backhaul was $5.2 billion in 2009, which accounted for 80 percent of all mobile backhaul equipment spending, and was $6.1 billion last year, which was 88 percent of mobile backhaul spending in 2010.