CenturyLink poses new threat to Google with Portland, Ore., video franchise

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is officially establishing itself as the new video provider in Portland, Ore., as the telco reached a deal for a new franchise agreement with city officials with plans to deliver service sometime in 2015, reports The Oregonian.

Although the formal approval won't be finalized until sometime in the spring, CenturyLink already had gained a franchise in the city after it acquired Qwest Communications. That contract will conclude at the end of next year.

CenturyLink would not talk about what areas of the city would be the first to get the service, but Portland officials said the service provider could start offering its Prism IPTV service soon.

Previous reports revealed that CenturyLink has begun installing fiber to various affluent Portland neighborhoods in preparation to deliver broadband and IPTV services. The service provider has installed fiber in segments of inner Southeast Portland, near Hawthorne, Division and Belmont and it is following up those efforts by bringing fiber to Ladd's Addition and in Northeast Portland, near Irvington.

"They'll be adding a very robust video product," Mary Beth Henry, director of Portland's office of community technology, who negotiated the franchise with CenturyLink, told The Oregonian. "I think it'll be in the first half of 2015."

Providing the city's residents with various choices of video services has been a key focus since the 1990s, but a requirement to bring service to every part of the city became a sticking point for cable MSOs like Comcast.

However, the city is now letting new entrants like CenturyLink and Google Fiber develop plans to serve parts of the city. One potential drawback is the less affluent neighborhoods might be overlooked.  

News of the telco moving to Portland should be of no surprise. In August, CenturyLink announced that it would extend its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) footprint to residential and business customers in select locations in 16 cities, including Portland.

Meanwhile, CenturyLink's would-be competitor Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced late last week that it is delaying any decisions about where it will extend its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) data and video services until "early next year."

For more:
- The Oregonian has this article

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