CenturyLink's Ewing: We're evaluating other areas for FTTH
CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) continues to see upside with the fiber to the home (FTTH) broadband service it offers in Las Vegas and Omaha and hopes to apply what it has learned in other markets.
"We're evaluating fiber to the home in other areas, which could give us much higher speeds," said Stewart Ewing, EVP and CFO of CenturyLink, during the UBS 41st Annual Global Media and Communications Conference.
The telco has completed the majority of its FTTH build out in Omaha, Neb., where it leverages an existing fiber network that was built out by its predecessor company US West to deliver a cable-like video service in the 1990s.
Upon completion, the Omaha FTTH network will provide service to about 48,000 homes.
Since beginning the pilot deployment, CenturyLink is already seeing customers purchasing data and video services.
"Through the third quarter, which is less than two quarters into the soft launch we started, we had mid-single digits penetration from a video standpoint," Ewing said.
After seeing favorable results from its trial in Omaha, the service provider also just began offering its FTTH service in Las Vegas. Initially available in the city's northwest area, CenturyLink plans to extend the service to additional communities and small businesses next year.
Besides Omaha and Las Vegas, CenturyLink continued to build out FTTH to new housing developments in other markets such as Iowa. However, the telco is only offering satellite-based video from its partner DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV).
"In Iowa, we actually built fiber into a subdivision where the cable decided not to build in when they knew we were putting fiber in," Ewing said.
In areas where it only offers ADSL2+ and a VDSL2-based fiber to the node (FTTN)-based service, the telco is seeing continual demand for higher speeds. Today, about 35 percent or higher of its customers can get 20 Mbps or higher, while another 63-65 percent can get 10 Mbps or more.
Ewing said they are "continuing the fiber to the node build that Qwest had started, which gets 80 percent of the customers behind fiber to the node and get 20 Mbps or higher, so we're continuing that at a slower pace."
Broadband and IPTV continue to be big drivers in their consumer business. During the third quarter, the service provider added 33,000 new broadband and 17,000 Prism IPTV subscribers.
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