Frontier challenges AT&T, Google Fiber in Durham, N.C. with fiber, copper-based video bundles

Frontier is taking its FrontierTV IPTV service to Durham, N.C. beginning in January, enabling it to more effectively compete with the growing threat from AT&T (NYSE: T) and Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG).

It plans to offer two bundles over both copper and its new 1 Gbps-capable FTTH network: 18 Mbps DSL with voice and data for under $70 and $150 for 1 Gbps services.

"We'll have a copper-based offering of about 18 Mbps with data, voice and 250 TV channels starting under $70, and we'll go up to our 1 Gbps offering to $150 to be more competitive with AT&T and Google Fiber that are in the market here as well," said Dennis Bloss, VP and general manager for Frontier, in an interview with FierceTelecom.

Durham, N.C., has been a major market of growth for Frontier. The service provider recently announced that it would fill 200 new positions to support the telco's growing residential broadband and business service customer base in the area and its pending acquisition of Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) properties in three states.

"Part of that announcement was to support the new acquisition of the three new states, but also support this video launch and keep up with this fiber-to-the-premises build, so it's all intertwined there," Bloss said. "We're seeing a lot of success in the places we built out, and we continue to build out every day."

What's interesting about this IPTV roll out is that it marks the first market outside of the areas where Frontier acquired facilities from Verizon and AT&T that it offers a linear IPTV service.

"This is very similar to what we do in our Verizon-acquired markets as well as our AT&T-acquired markets for video today," Bloss said. "It's the first place where we have built out and launched ourselves, while the others have been acquired."

By leveraging its existing copper and fiber-based networks and incorporating tight compression, Frontier will deliver low-bandwidth TV to area homes.

To deliver the IPTV service, Frontier will use Ericsson's (NASDAQ: ERIC) Mediaroom technology, which can run over both fiber and copper-based networks. It will also use the same video head ends it acquired as part of the 14-state wireline asset acquisition from Verizon in 2010.

In delivering the service, Frontier said that customers won't have to endure a painful installation process of having technicians drill holes through walls or install new equipment on the side of the house. Instead, the service provider will equip each user's home with a wireless set-top box that will allow them to distribute service to any room in the house.

Among the many features of FrontierTV are an on-screen guide that allows users to record six shows at the same time, 1080p for HD and 4K for ultra-high definition video, and over 630 channels.

In addition, users will be able to access Frontier's FrontierTV mobile app, which allows viewers to watch many favorite networks and shows on laptops, tablets and phones.

For more:
- see the release

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