centurylink_Like some other major carriers, CenturyLink has seen declines on the residential side of its business — not only on the voice side, but also on the broadband side, as some customers have shifted to higher-speed cable service to meet climbing data demands.

But the company plans to reverse the broadband trend in 2017, according to CFO Stewart Ewing, who outlined the CenturyLink broadband strategy for achieving that goal at a financial conference today.

One key element of this strategy is an over-the-top video offering, which according to CenturyLink, will work fine over a broadband connection that can support speeds as low as 10 Mbps. In contrast, the company’s more traditional Prism video offering requires a 25 Mbps connection.

The OTT offering “will be more of a skinny bundle” with the option to pay extra to add on more channels, said Ewing.

CenturyLink already has been testing the OTT video offering in four markets and expects to launch the service in “select markets” toward the end of first quarter with a “further rollout at a later date,” Ewing said.

“Eventually it will be available to anyone who has 10 [Mbps] or better, so there will be a much wider market opportunity” in comparison with the Prism opportunity, Ewing said. Prism is available in 16 markets and passes 2.3 million homes, he noted.

The wider availability of the OTT offering, Ewing said “will allow us to turn around the net broadband losses that we’ve had the last few quarters.”

CenturyLink Broadband Strategy
Another element of the CenturyLink broadband strategy is a network upgrade scheduled for completion in 2019. Upgrade plans focus on the company’s top 25 markets. In those markets, Ewing outlined speed targets as follows:

  • At least 40 Mbps to 90% of CenturyLink’s customer base
  • At least 100 Mbps to 70% of CenturyLink’s customer base
  • 1 Gbps to 20% of CenturyLink’s customer base

“We think this will enable us to increase our broadband adds over the next few years,” said Ewing.

Ewing made his remarks at the Citi 2017 Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference in Las Vegas, which was also webcast.

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One thought on “CenturyLink Broadband Strategy Relies on OTT for a Return to Broadband Growth

  1. If the FCC 2015 goal of 25Mbps too ALL regions urban AND rural then Centurylink has failed. This article talks about the 25 largest areas and the speed exalted 40Mbps/100Mbps/1Gbps and it seems to have totally abandoned the idea of ALL areas having at least 25Mbps when we are lucky enough to get 6Mbps. There appears to be no concern, no goals to get the higher speed to rural area. Is Centurylink discriminating against rural areas because of the low population density, vs the bigger money obviously in the urban areas. I have bumped into the "hands in the air syndrome" from Centurylink. When does Centurylink intend to bring our rural broadband speed up to the advertised 25Mbps? Speed of 3Mbps and 6Mbps is totally unacceptable in this environment of creating standards.

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