CenturyLink is close to winning a TV franchise in Minneapolis and doing battle with Comcast

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) may soon give Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) a dose of new TV competition in Minneapolis if it gets final city council approval for its video franchise in May.

While it has not specified the exact areas in the city where it will deliver the Prism IPTV service first, the telco told the Star Tribune that it plans to bring the service to about 15 percent of the city over the next two years.

According to a plan that received the green light from a City Council panel on Monday, the telco will initially deliver the Prism TV service in a "limited" basis to parts of all 13 wards in the city. It added that the goal is to equip all of the city with the service by 2020, but that is not a commitment.

Minneapolis is just one of several franchises CenturyLink is looking to secure. The service provider has applied for franchise agreements in a number of other suburbs.

Although the 15 percent initial roll out plan is lower than the earlier 30 percent projection, the service provider would have to expand the service into more parts of the city if a sizeable amount of consumers express interest in the service.

The City Council will take a final vote on CenturyLink's franchise agreement on May 15.

IPTV continues to be key priority of CenturyLink. In addition to Minneapolis, the service provider recently launched services in other markets including Denver, and it is seeking similar franchise agreements in Portland, Oregon where it could face off with Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG).

Although it won't release first quarter earnings until May 5, in the fourth quarter CenturyLink reported that it added 12,900 new Prism TV customers, ending the quarter with a total of 242,000 customers while increasing the penetration rate to about 2.4 million homes passed to 10.2 percent.

For more:
- The Star Tribune has this article

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