Taking what it calls a "targeted approach," CenturyLink is delivering its higher speed DSL 25 Mbps service and Prism IPTV over a hybrid copper/fiber architecture--a similar approach that AT&T and its soon to be subsidiary Qwest. Although there's a common goal to drive more out of its existing copper, there are subtle differences between the approaches CenturyLink and Qwest are taking to get there.
Unlike Qwest, which has not been using copper bonding in its ongoing Fiber to the Node rollout, CenturyLink has taken the path of leveraging a mixture of ADSL2+ with copper pair bonding.
In addition to deploying ADSL2+ with bonding on its CO and remote terminal DSLAMs, CenturyLink is deploying VDSL in some select markets with plans to eventually move to VDSL2 with bonding.
Despite all of the initial focus on copper, CenturyLink is not totally ruling out Fiber to the Home (FTTH). Similar to Frontier Communications, CenturyLink is using FTTH at this point in mainly in Greenfield housing developments.
CenturyLink has no plans to do FTTH en masse anytime soon, however.
"We don't want to go out and overbuild ourselves, but through all of these efforts we're putting out IP DSLAMs deeper into the network, and as you do so you're building fiber deeper into the network," Huber said, adding that the "connection to the home or business is a bonded DSL solution."
The question, however, is what will they do in integrating the two approaches of both Qwest and CenturyLink?
Unlike CenturyLink, Qwest has not leveraged bonding in its last mile FTTN network, opting instead for one that leverages a mix of both ADSL2+ and VDSL2 for their 40 Mbps service.
While Huber would not discuss specific decisions on the roadmap of the combined company's last mile network, he said that "we'll roll out these technologies accordingly and determine the best approaches in each of the markets."