CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is striking back at local cable competitors by 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.
Besides Salt Lake City, the service will be available throughout Sandy, Midvale, Draper, South Jordan, West Jordan, Cottonwood Heights and other area municipalities.
Eligible businesses will not only be able to get access to higher speed in their respective offices, but also a direct connection to its recently upgraded 100G global network. Besides handling the fiber installation to each building, CenturyLink also owns and maintains the equipment so any issues that arise with the service can be resolved by the telco itself.
One of the key drivers of the 1 Gbps service is to serve as a foundation for its growing set of cloud-based services, including its recently announced Managed Office bundle. This offering provides a host of services including network and Hosted VoIP, Managed CPE, Hosted apps and cloud storage and security software. These services will be complemented by Managed install and training, one-stop customer support and scalable, per-seat pricing.
Brian Washburn, service director, Global Business Network and IT Services for Current Analysis, said in an interview with FierceTelecom that targeting SMBs with Managed Office makes sense since most of these organizations don't have the in-house staff to deploy these solutions themselves.
"An IT admin may realize they don't want to deal with all the WAN/Internet/security and issues like hosted e-mail, but don't have the skills or the time to make a transition," Washburn said.
However, Washburn cautioned that a key challenge for CenturyLink and other providers is convincing area SMBs to hand over these functions to a third party.
"A number of providers we've talked to see this transition issue as the crux of the problem to win over SMBs, even if they are interested in switching," he said. "Inertia is very tough to change."
Extending its 1 Gbps-capable services into MTUs has been a key priority for CenturyLink and is part of a broader set of higher speed business solutions it is using to lure existing and new SMB customers.
Although it won't announce its fourth-quarter 2013 earnings until Feb. 12, Glen Post, CEO of CenturyLink, said during the third quarter it "added 400 fiber-fed buildings, increasing the number of fiber-fed buildings by 40 percent."
In areas where it does not currently offer its advanced multi-tenant unit (MTU) or GPON services, it will continue to deploy Ethernet services, including Ethernet over Copper (EoC) to businesses.
- see the release
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