Frontier is rolling out its Vantage TV IPTV service to customers in North Carolina, laying a direct challenge to not only incumbents AT&T and Charter, but also to Google Fiber to provide greater choice to the region.
The Vantage TV service, according to a News & Observer report, is being rolled out to about 75,000 homes. This rollout will address nearly a third of Frontier’s service area that stretches across 275,000 households in 16 North Carolina counties.
Frontier said that it currently has 130,000 customers in North Carolina that subscribe to its array of broadband and video products, including the satellite TV service it offers via its partnership with Dish. It also has been offering Vantage TV in Durham as part of a pilot service rollout.
In addition to Durham, Frontier is offering Vantage TV in some parts of Raleigh, Creedmoor, Wake Forest, Franklinton, Rougemont, Bahama and other nearby cities.
“We will add Vantage availability wherever it is possible and dependent on how the market responds to this initial offering,” Frontier said in a statement. “It is also dependent on broadband capacity in the network.”
By comparison, Charter via its acquisition of Time Warner Cable is the incumbent cable MSO, while AT&T continues to expand U-verse and likely its DirecTV Now offering in the 10 cities the carrier currently serves.
Meanwhile, Google Fiber offers its 1 Gbps service in Morrisville and has plans to launch in six other North Carolina communities: Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Carrboro and Garner.
North Carolina is just one of several communities where Frontier is going to offer its IPTV service over its copper and growing FTTH facilities.
Leveraging the network infrastructure it purchased from Verizon in 2010, Frontier announced in October that it was enhancing its Vantage TV service in the South Carolina market, enabling 19,000 FTTH and 26,000 copper-based households to get the IPTV and higher speed broadband services.
For that deployment, Frontier upgraded the fiber plant to support Vantage TV packages that include 1 Gbps broadband speeds to residential customers. In 2010, Frontier assumed control of the North Myrtle Beach FiOS network following its deal to acquire Verizon’s wireline operations in 14 states.
Similarly, on its hybrid fiber-to-the-node (FTTN)-based network, Frontier will offer the Vantage service with top data speeds of up to 115 Mbps in the greater Myrtle Beach area and Conway.
Frontier’s latest IPTV rollout reflects a broader strategy to leverage its existing FTTN network to bring service, ultimately, to 7 million customers across the telco’s network territory. The telco also plans to target Verizon wireline properties Frontier acquired earlier this year in California, Florida and Texas.
Being able to expand its own facilities-based IPTV service to more customers is important, particularly as Frontier looks to turn its video fortunes around following a challenging third quarter where it saw wide service declines.
During the quarter, Frontier lost 92,000 video customers, ending the period with a total of 1.53 million video subscribers, down from 1.62 million in the second quarter.