One of the more interesting dynamics surrounding the announced CenturyLink-Qwest merger is the implications for video and IPTV. Generally speaking, if you ask the IPTV vendor ecosystem, a boon would be welcomed.

Maybe the impact won’t be along traditional IPTV lines. As industry analyst Steve Hawley commented on our original CenturyLink-Qwest merger post, “Perhaps a new IPTV-video strategy will rise like a phoenix… This is actually a very interesting time for a complete strategy reset.” Interesting observation.

Here is what we do know. Qwest and CenturyLink have gone down very different paths, relative to a video strategy. That’s going to have to be reconciled in some way. Qwest has taken a pass on IPTV completely (even though they were a pioneer in switched digital video) and has chosen satellite TV resale as their sole traditional subscription strategy. They’ve sniffed around OTT video with ZillionTV, but there’s no clear direction on where that’s headed.

CenturyLink on the other hand has pulled the IPTV trigger and has a few IPTV markets up and running, with Las Vegas rumored to be in the pipeline. They have north of 20K video subscribers (although some of those are traditional HFC cable subs). They are using Microsoft’s Mediaroom platform over a variety of access methods including ADSL2+, VDSL, and limited FTTH deployments.

Given CenturyLink’s appetite for doing IPTV over DSL, and Qwest’s growing VDSL footprint, will we see a dramatic expansion of IPTV into Qwest markets? Current Qwest CEO Ed Mueller said on the merger announcement conference call that CenturyLink’s IPTV could potentially provide “additional options” in Qwest territories. Not exactly “full speed ahead,” but not a dismissal either. Since these mergers typically take a year or so to close, will they wait that long to begin some IPTV trials? I know an IPTV vendor or two that hope not.

The other video issue to be resolved with this merger is DBS resale. CenturyLink dances with DISH Network and Qwest with DirecTV. It’s unlikely that the combined company will offer both. It’s somewhat reminiscent of when AT&T (a DISH partner at the time) bought Bell South (a DirecTV partner at the time) and faced the same conundrum. DirecTV ultimately won that sweepstakes when AT&T decided to end their resale arrangement with DISH and go exclusively with DirecTV. Is it curtains for DISH Network again?

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9 thoughts on “Will CenturyLink-Qwest Be a Boon for IPTV?

    1. Actually most of their current IPTV is run over DSL, using both ADSL2+ and VDSL, although they are doing some FTTH as well. Their IPTV markets are in Missouri, for now.

      1. Interesting. Didn't know that CenLink did VDSL at all, and hadn't heard about their ADSL2+ based IPTV system. Got a link so I can read up on all of this?

          1. I can confirm that in Onalaska, Wisconsin I live in an apartment that does not have FTTP, and we are using IPTV over DSL. From what I have heard on that we are going to begin getting Bonded DSL soon.

  1. They actually have full blown IPTV in Wisconsin, Missouri, and trials in Las Vegas(another 2 months and it will be live) and Fort Meyers, Florida(3 more months and it will be live). Bonded pairs make for a great 25mb connection even to the oldest of lines. The plan is to have a new market almost every other month. A bold and hard plan but will be making up for the 20 billion on a quicker scale. Plus with the way CenturyLink treats its customers and employees I am not surprised they are as strong as they are. Long live CenturyLink(atleast the stocks anyways)

  2. I just want to know where these 5 new markets are going to be. I am in Gig Harbor, WA and call CenturyLink every week to ask when it is coming and I have been getting the run around for months. It is soooo frustrating, it seems that CenturyLink has no plan of action or any clue what they are doing. Why can they only get 5 new markets in the coming years? That is extremely slow. I am very disappointed. Tempts me to drop my FTTH and land lines and not have anything more to do with them. Just give me an answer?!

  3. Just give you an answer? Wow. Let's quick get Mr. Glen Post on the line immediately to address your little tantrum because you are not on the inside loop. Perhaps they DO have a plan of action and they are choosing to implement it without your obvious expertise! Centurylink has done just fine with the plan they have utilized to this point. I am not sure, but I suspect that Centurylink will survive the hit if you drop your land lines!

  4. One of the new markets that are bieng tageted is Phoenix az. Ive seen some work being done around the more suburban areas

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