Consolidated Communications has begun offering 1 Gbps internet speeds in selects areas of its California service territory, laying a further challenge to Comcast and Frontier, which expanded its presence in the state via its Verizon wireline network acquisition.
The service provider did not have to look to far in building out a Gbps service in Roseville, California, as it could leverage the existing FTTH network infrastructure laid by SureWest, which Consolidated purchased in 2012.
Following the pricing standard set by Google Fiber, Consolidated is offering the 1 Gbps service to 16,000 eligible FTTH customers in the Roseville area for $70 a month.
Rob Koester, VP of consumer products for Consolidated Communications, said that the service provider plans to bring the 1 Gbps service into other parts of its California territory at a later date, but would not disclose a specific timeline.
“We’re starting with 16,000 homes in Roseville and will add new areas as regional facilities are upgraded,” Koester said.
The next challenge for Consolidated will likely be from Comcast and Frontier, which expanded its reach in the California market by acquiring Verizon's assets in the state. Frontier has indicated that it plans on enhancing and potentially expanding its FTTH and existing copper network footprints in the state.
Consolidated will also face off against Frontier, which also operates in nearby Elk Grove, California.
Besides the Roseville market, Consolidated rolled out 1 Gbps internet service in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2014, followed by its Houston market in 2015. Before launching the 1 Gbps service, Consolidated offered high-speed internet up to 100 Mbps over its FTTH network.
While 1 Gbps is certainly the key premium service, Consolidated has been also aggressively expanding its lower speed offerings. Over 89 percent of its customers can get 20 Mbps, and another 42 percent can get 100 Mbps or higher.
Like its ILEC peers CenturyLink and Hawaiian Telcom that offer 1 Gbps speeds, Consolidated is also seeing a halo effect where customers are switching from lower speed 10 or 25 Mbps to a 50 Mbps offering.
“The most popular speed is now 50 Mbps so we’ve seen that increase,” Chacon said. “As we have offered higher speeds, the average that our customers are taking continues to go up.”
As the service provider rolls out 1 Gbps, Consolidated Communications will work to educate customers as it implements it at each home.
“We’re doing education with customers coming onto 1 Gig,” Chacon said. “You get a gig to the side of your house and then you get a wireless router and start connecting things to the wireless router and it’s interesting how many connected devices in the home eats up bandwidth.”
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