Qwest may be sharing the same method of delivering broadband services with Fiber to the Node (FTTN) as its nearby counterpart AT&T, but that's pretty much where the comparison ends.
During the third quarter of 2009, the Colo.-based ILEC did not fare too badly in broadband. In terms of growth Qwest brought on an additional 28,000 subscribers bringing total subscribers to about 3 million. Broadband growth was driven by the service provider's ongoing Fiber to the Node (FTTN) build out, which now makes up 340,000 users or more than 11 percent of its overall broadband subscriber base.
"With no pure play video or wireless anchor offering, and they are doing a lot to try to differentiate in their market, including an ambitious Fiber to the Node (FTTN) build out with an announced target of 3 million homes passed by the end of the year," said Ben Piper, Strategy Analytics. "Qwest has been rather measured in their rollout, allowing the benefit of learning as they go--though some critics believe they haven't been aggressive enough in rollouts. FTTN take up has been reportedly high, and CEO Ed Mueller has estimated a potential FTTN homes passed range of between 50 percent and 70 percent over the next five years."
Even without a TV or wireless play, Qwest is finding other ways to increase the value of its broadband pipe by sweetening it with enhanced services including WiFi access, for example.
"Another element of the Qwest strategy has been partnerships (as evidenced by agreements with Verizon, Microsoft and AT&T)," Piper said. "I think the WiFi agreement between AT&T and Qwest (providing Qwest subscribers access to AT&T hotspots) is a potentially effective churn mitigating strategy for Qwest."
But Qwest's FTTN roll out is not just about residential services alone. As the service provider continues to advance its Fiber to the Node build, it's finding that the same fiber going to neighborhoods can be leveraged for other purposes including wireless backhaul at cell towers in its respective 14-state region.