Dennis Huber's rising star at CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) has been a long journey that began back in 1987 when he joined the then integrated wireless/wireline Sprint (NYSE: S) as Manager of New Product Systems.
Not long after coming to Sprint in the late 80s, a time when Sprint along with MCI became AT&T's (NYSE: T) two biggest long-distance service rivals, to the role of Group Manager of Product Development.
Later at Embarq, a company created when Sprint spun out its local telephone division, Huber became that service provider's CTO where he did double duty as both the Senior Vice President - Corporate Strategy and Development, and Senior Vice President of Product Development.
At the still relatively new CenturyLink, the creation of the marriage of the former CenturyTel and Embarq, Huber directs the product and service vision as the service provider's Executive Vice President, Network and Information Technology.
As CenturyLink moves to complete its merger with Qwest this year, Huber's focus continues to be on driving a growing set of new residential and wholesale services. There are three residential service sets that will top of mind for CenturyLink: 25 Mbps DSL service, IPTV and its new wireless service it will offer through a reseller arrangement with Verizon Wireless.
While CenturyLink is serious about upping the speeds of its DSL service, as evidenced by its 25 Mbps service, Huber revealed to FierceTelecom that "rolling out the speeds to me is not as important as making sure those customers can run digital services over those speeds" such as IPTV and other interactive applications.
CenturyLink has been slowly advancing six markets so far: Columbia and Jefferson City, Mo., Ft. Myers, Fla., La Crosse, Wis., and right in Cox Communications' backyard in Las Vegas, Nev.
Outside of the residential service arena, CenturyLink, like Qwest, plans to expand the availability of its fiber to the cell site offerings. In its Q4 2010 earnings call, CenturyLink revealed that it would increase capital spending by 16 percent to $1 billion in 2011 to expand its availability of fiber to the cell site services.
Given Huber's knack at driving new product initiatives, he will likely play a major role in integrating CenturyLink's current product and network initiatives into what Qwest has built when it wraps the acquisition of the RBOC this quarter.