CenturyLink expanding IPTV service in Minnesota; goes toe-to-toe with Comcast

By Jim O'Neill on Feb 02 2016 at 9:00 AM
CenturyLink expanding IPTV service in Minnesota; goes toe-to-toe with Comcast

There’s no way to confuse CenturyLink with Comcast; one has some 269,000 pay-TV subscribers, the other 22.3 million. But the Monroe, La.-based telco believes it can create an alternative market in the Twin Cities and nearly two-dozen surrounding cities with its Prism IPTV service.

The company says it’s deploying a multi-tier offering that starts at $35 monthly for its 140-channel Prism Essential product, to $80 monthly for its 320-channel Prism Premium package.

The interactive TV service is being delivered over CenturyLink’s fiber optic network and is available in portions of Arden Hills, Blaine, Bloomington, Centerville, Circle Pines, Coon Rapids, Edina, Falcon Heights, Ham Lake, Lauderdale, Lexington, Little Canada, Minneapolis, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, Roseville, Spring Lake Park, St. Anthony, St. Louis Park and St. Paul., most of them already with Comcast as the incumbent.

CenturyLink has offered fiber-enabled 1 gigabit broadband service to residential and business customers in the Twin Cities area since 2014, and is now making additional investments to offer entertainment services.

CenturyLink said it plans to roll Prism TV out in more cities to thousands of additional homes in the coming weeks.

In CenturyLink’s case, the pay-TV offer is as much to make residents aware of its 1 Gbps broadband service as anything else. Prism is potentially the key that opens non-customers’ door to its high-speed broadband, a significantly higher margin product than Prism TV.

Despite the increased incidence of cord cutting, many operators still feel that offering broadband and pay TV as a reduced-price bundle gives them marketing leverage, as well as creating the potential for cord nevers to at least trial the IPTV service.

Hey, stranger things have happened.

To wit: “Prism TV is advanced technology that complements our 1 gig services in the area and allows us to bring new, competitive choices to our customers,” said Tyler Middleton, CenturyLink vice president of operations for Minnesota.

Comcast broadband subscribers topped 22.8 million in Q3 2015, making it the biggest ISP in the country. CenturyLink, meanwhile, had about 6.1 million, ranking it as a Top 5 ISP.

Stay tuned.

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