CenturyLink is conducting or planning to conduct several interesting technology and market trials including an over-the-top video trial targeted for the fourth quarter of this year, according to CenturyLink Chief Financial Officer Stewart Ewing.
The trial OTT offering is expected to sell for between $20 and $30 a month, Ewing told investors in a question-and-answer session at the Oppenheimer Technology, Internet and Communications Conference on Wednesday. “We could sell [it] where we have high-speed Internet” supporting speeds of between 10 Mbps and 15 Mbps, Ewing said. He also noted that the company is considering offering the service outside its own high-speed broadband footprint but where a competitor offers a broadband service sufficiently fast to support the offering.
High-Speed Copper Trials
Also on tap for CenturyLink is a trial of vectoring and bonding in Salt Lake City. Using the technology, Ewing said, “We hope to get 100 Mbps to a good part of Salt Lake City.” The company already offers gigabit service in parts of Salt Lake City using fiber-to-the-home technology and in some markets where it offers that technology, the company has experienced what Ewing called a “halo effect.”
In Omaha, for example, Ewing said offering gigabit service generated inquiries to CenturyLink that in some cases yielded new customers for sub-gigabit but still fairly high-speed 40 Mbps or 80 Mbps service. The company hopes to achieve similar results in Salt Lake City with 100 Mbps service – and if the trial is successful, Ewing said CenturyLink would expand the use of vectoring and bonding more broadly.
New Trenching Method
A third CenturyLink involves a new method of trenching for fiber installations that the company is testing in Seattle and Minnesota. This approach involves cutting a shallower than usual trench in the edge of a roadbed, deploying conduit and using a polymer seal – and would reduce fiber installation costs.
“If it holds through the winter and we don’t see degradation, we can start” deploying it more broadly, Ewing said.