Report: CenturyLink Idaho says a 1 Gbps fiber-based connection is overkill

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CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is confident that in the near term, the average residential and business user in Idaho will have no need for a 1 Gbps fiber-based broadband connection to their premises, reports the Idaho Statesman.

Jim Schmit, Idaho CenturyLink's vice president and general manager, told the Idaho Statesman that while it plans to continue investing in its local fiber networks, it is not concerned about the threat of Google Fiber (Nasdaq: GOOG) or another competitor offering such speeds. In fact, he claims that a 1 Gbps connection is overkill.

"It's like having a fancy sports car," Schmit said. "It might go 200 miles per hour, but what good does that do if the speed limit is 60?"

That's not to say the telco is completely against using 1 Gbps-capable fiber networks, particularly for business customers. Since its existing fiber network already passes a number of businesses in the state, Schmit said that "we're within last-mile connections for most locations."

Schmit added in an e-mail to FierceTelecom that they will continue to "monitor and evaluate its current 1 gigabit deployments before determining further deployment of this advanced technology, considering such factors as positive community support, competitive parity in the marketplace and the ability to earn a reasonable return on our investment."

Despite Schmit's claims, some businesses aren't happy with the progress that CenturyLink has made.

Ryan Woodings, CEO and founder of wireless network software developer MetaGeek, said that his company's move into the Jefferson Building in downtown Boise was held up for two months as CenturyLink installed fiber into the building.

"This is a five-story office building downtown, and there was no fiber until we moved in," Woodings said. "I think that's more common than not, which is kind of sorry. Even in downtown, Boise fiber buildout is not where it needs to be, and I haven't heard any rumblings of that getting better."

Outside of Idaho, CenturyLink has been making some progress in delivering 1 Gbps fiber to the premises (FTTP) services to business and residential customers in Omaha and Las Vegas. In February, the service provider began offering its symmetrical 1 Gbps fiber-based services to Salt Lake City-area small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) that reside in multi-tenant unit (MTU) office buildings.

Schmit said that CenturyLink will continue to look at using a number of last mile technologies, including next-gen copper-based technologies like VDSL2 with bonding and FTTH particularly in Greenfield housing developments.

"One of our key strategic initiatives is investment in broadband services expansion and enhancement to better serve our business and consumer customers – including the evaluation of fiber to the home in new residential developments in Idaho and across our service area," he said. "We have utilized fiber, VDSL2, and pair bonding deployments to efficiently enable higher speeds and enhance services to consumers and businesses in our markets. We deliver very competitive broadband speeds, including up to 1 gigabit service in a limited number of areas, and continue to drive broadband penetration."

For more:
- Idaho Statesman has this article

Related articles:
CenturyLink launches 1 Gbps fiber pilot in Omaha
CenturyLink's Ewing: Omaha FTTH network is a test bed

Updated article with direct quotes from Jim Schmit, Idaho CenturyLink's vice president and general manager.