Cincinnati Bell responds to Google Fiber heat, will launch 1-Gig service in September

Cincinnati Bell is responding to a possible Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) threat by moving ahead with its plans to debut its own 1 Gbps fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service in September. 

In March, Cincinnati city officials began lobbying Google Fiber to be its next fiber city. Cincinnati previously made an unsuccessful bid to become one of the Internet giant's targets.

The service provider is gearing up for the Sept. 8 debut of its 1 Gbps FTTH Fioptics residential broadband data service with its "Light up Cincinnati" campaign.

Cincinnati Bell said the "Light up Cincinnati" initiative is all about touting the service provider's movement to expand its Fioptics suite of broadband Internet, voice and video services for its mix of business and consumer customers throughout Cincinnati.

In tandem with the expanded FTTH offering, Cincinnati Bell plans to expand the availability of its Wi-Fi service at free hot spots throughout the city and at community events such as the Cincinnati Bell/WEBN Fireworks on Labor Day weekend.

Ted Torbeck, CEO of Cincinnati Bell, said in a Cincinnati Enquirer article that the campaign is designed to drive home the idea that the service provider is transforming itself from being just another sleepy wireline voice provider to one that's focused on providing IP and broadband-based services.

"It's creating awareness that this is the new Cincinnati Bell," he said. "We're a high-tech company."

Today, Fioptics passes about 40 percent of potential customers in Greater Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Bell has set a plan to cover 60 to 70 percent of Cincinnati with the service by 2017.

Torbeck told investors in June that the telco plans to spend between $80 million and $85 million on rolling out FTTH throughout Cincinnati this year. At that time, the service provider said it would focus 75 percent of its attention on fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and the rest on traditional copper-based technologies, including DSL, and hybrid fiber-and-copper methods, such as VDSL2.

At the same time, the telco has been realigning its focus by reaching an agreement in April to sell its wireless-spectrum licenses to Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) for $210 million. When the deal is completed, the service provider said it would be able to more effectively dedicate time to expanding its wireline-based Fioptics broadband offerings for consumers and small and medium-sized businesses.

Regardless of what's driving its FTTH build, the focus on Fioptics is paying off for Cincinnati Bell. The telco reported that in the second quarter Fioptics revenues jumped 45 percent year-over-year, to $34 million, a rise that was driven by an increase in the number of Fioptics video and Internet subscribers.

For more:
- Cincinnati Enquirer has this article

Editor's Corner: Cincinnati Bell's wireless sale enhances its fiber-based broadband, business push

Related articles:
Cincinnati Bell extends 1 Gbps fiber service to The Brandery, sets plan for broader rollout
Cincinnati Bell sheds wireless assets for $210M, sharpens Fioptics, business service focus
Cincinnati Bell's Fioptics revenue jumps 45% to $34M
Cincinnati Bell's Torbeck: We'll spend $80M-85M on FTTH this year