CenturyLink says 1 Gig has great potential for schools, telecommuters

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) says that in Utah and other communities where it is deploying its 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) service, it is gaining strong traction with local school districts and residential users who telecommute for major corporations like eBay and Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).

While bringing 1 Gbps broadband service to residential customers is a key focus for CenturyLink, the service provider is finding that schools represent a large market that's in dire need of higher speeds.

Within the state of Utah, the service provider has been able to serve a large majority of the state's schools with the 1 Gbps service.

"If you think in terms of the whole Utah state from Logan down to St. George and everywhere between there, we have deployed gig to the schools," said Jeremy Ferkin, vice president of Utah operations for CenturyLink, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "What's deployed in Utah is radically unique and probably the first in the globe of what's available for bandwidth to all of the schools."

Besides serving school districts with 1 Gbps service, CenturyLink has seen the growth of telecommuting in Utah among those who live in apartment complexes that are taking advantage of the service where it is available.

"We have a ton of work-at-home people and we have businesses where we go on their campus and help them with their recruiting by guiding where their employees can go in an MDU," Ferkin said. "A lot of them are actually guiding employees to go to where we have a Gig."

Ferkin added that telecommuters can use the high speed service to get a better experience with key business applications such as VPN and videoconferencing.

"When they are doing security, they don't have the latency issues when they VPN back into the office and when they need to do a videoconference with their boss they're not having issues," said Ferkin. "Because of the uniqueness that's happening in Utah with the amount of technology investment going on with Microsoft and eBay building facilities in the state, all of those knowledge workers can access the applications just like they're at work."

Interestingly, the advent of 1 Gbps FTTP services in Utah is driving more telecommuting and reducing environmental emissions by taking more cars off the road because more workers no longer have to commute to work.

"What we're finding is its profound impact on things like telecommuting," Ferkin said. "In Utah, we're also having a big impact on the Clean Air Act."

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