Matching the speeds of Google Fiber, CenturyLink Inc. has decided to give its cable broadband rivals a run for the money.
CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL) announced that it plans to launch a symmetrical 1 Gbit/s service in Las Vegas this fall, using fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) plant to deliver the high speeds to a few thousands homes and small businesses in “select neighborhoods.” Plans call for expanding the rollout substantially throughout the market in 2014.
The Sin City move comes five months after CenturyLink launched a 1Gig pilot in Omaha, Nebraska in May. That trial, which also relies on FTTP plant rather than DSL connections over copper plant, involves up to 48,000 homes in Omaha. (See: CenturyLink Uses Omaha as 1Gig Test Bed.)
CenturyLink's pricing scheme in Las Vegas is somewhat similar to what Google Fiber Inc. is offering, at about $80 a month, as long as subscribers commit to a 12-month contact. In its first two markets (Kansas City and Provo, Utah), Google Fiber is charging customers $70 a month for 1Gig symmetrical service.
CenturyLink will also offer the 1Gig service for about $125 a month when it’s packaged with the telco’s Prism TV IPTV service. Google Fiber charges $120 a month for its broadband plus TV package.
In Las Vegas, CenturyLink’s new service will blow past the top speeds provided by the market’s incumbent cable operator, Cox Communications Inc. , to most of its customers. Cox now offers download speeds as high as 150 Mbit/s to residential and small business subscribers for about $110 a month. But it also offers 1Gig speeds and higher over an all-fiber network to larger commercial customers.
CenturyLink’s new service will also surpass the fastest speeds offered by either Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) or Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which have been playing a game of chicken over the last couple of years to see who could boast the fastest broadband speeds across the US. Just last month, Comcast boosted the maximum speeds for its residential broadband service to 505 Mbit/s downstream and 100 Mbit/s upstream in key metro areas where it competes against Verizon’s FiOS Internet service, which tops out at 500 Mbit/s downstream and the same 100 Mbit/s upstream. (See: Comcast Zips Past Verizon.)
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading