CenturyLink close to securing video franchise agreement with 4 additional Oregon towns

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) may have a foothold in Portland, Ore., but its ambition is to expand the presence of its fiber-to-the-premises 1 Gbps (FTTP) and IPTV services into four new areas of the state.

The telco is in the process of getting necessary approvals to serve segments of Lake Oswego, North Plains, Tigard, West Linn and some of unincorporated Washington County.

After it began delivering 1 Gbps service in parts of Portland in 2014, it introduced its Prism IPTV service for the city in May, laying a new competitive challenge to Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), which had enjoyed a long-running monopoly over the city's video market.

According to a report in The Oregonian, CenturyLink has struck a preliminary TV franchise agreement with the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission, which regulates TV services in Washington County and other Portland suburbs. Similar to its agreement in Portland, CenturyLink will be able to address specific areas within each community versus having to serve all residents in a region like Comcast is required to do.

However, the full commission needs to sign off on the agreement, which will look at it on Wednesday, and then it needs approval from the four target cities. This means that a final decision may not be made until sometime this fall.

Although CenturyLink told The Oregonian these plans are moving forward, it did not mention when it would be building to these areas or where it would ultimately provide service.

Interestingly, CenturyLink's application comes as its main rival Comcast is in the process of renewing its 10-year TV franchise agreement with Metropolitan Area Communications Commission.

IPTV continues to be a major priority for CenturyLink, and Oregon is just one state where the telco is expanding the service to battle Comcast. In June, the service provider began offering its Prism IPTV service in the Minneapolis market after the Minneapolis City Council approved CenturyLink's video franchise agreement.

Overall CenturyLink is continuing to grow its IPTV and 1 Gbps FTTP footprints.

As of the end of the first quarter, CenturyLink had a total of 249,000 Prism TV subscribers, up year-over-year from 199,000 subscribers in the same period a year ago.

The company is being no less aggressive on the 1 Gbps FTTP front. With a focus on building out the 10 markets it has announced so far, the telco plans to reach 700,000 residential homes with 1 Gbps service by the end of the year.

It will announce its second quarter 2015 earnings on Aug. 5 and it's likely that IPTV will make up a large portion of its consumer results, particularly as it sees its traditional POTS voice business show another of ongoing declines.

For more:
- The Oregonian has this article

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