Consolidated Communications isn't the first service provider to bring 1-Gig service to Kansas City, but the carrier still maintains a high degree of confidence that it will garner its share of the market.
"You could easily argue that this is the most competitive US broadband market right now," says Rob Koester, senior director of product management at Consolidated Communications Inc.
Indeed, the Kansas City area was the inaugural market for Google Fiber Inc. . In addition, major Gigabit Cities players such as AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), with its GigaPower effort, and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), with its TWC Maxx initiative, are also contenders. (See AT&T to Fill Google's Gigabit Void in Kansas and TWC Speeds Along With Speed Hikes.)
But that level of competition doesn't prevent Consolidated -- which continues to expand its network and service portfolio by acquisition -- from attacking the market with what it views as its unique strengths. (See Consolidated Gains Fiber, Cloud Focus With Enventis)
"It could be daunting because we're the smallest in the market, but we have unique market advantages," Koester says. "We've been around for a long time, and all our technology people and customer service reps are local. And in terms of product delivery, it's all about quality, and who's going to support it if it breaks at 2 a.m."
Consolidated's symmetrical 1-Gig package is available for $69.95 per month with no construction or installation fees. Despite the new offering, however, the carrier believes that the Gigabit Cities craze might be overkill at this point -- but that it has drawn more attention from both residential consumers and businesses to the need for, and availability of, higher-speed, higher-quality broadband connectivity.
"We're seeing a general awareness about quality," Koester says. "I think the masses are realizing that 1-Gig is probably overkill right now, but we're definitely seeing a lot more interest in the middle tiers. And as businesses start to move more toward the cloud and services like hosted VoIP and videoconferencing, they're realizing that not all broadband is created equal."
Besides hyperlocal customer focus and service, Consolidated plans to differentiate its offering by making it easy and transparent, Koester says, giving customers intuitive tools that help them understand how various services and devices impact their broadband connections.
"All the Internet-connected devices and services -- exercise machines, refrigerators, home security and automation -- means the quality and quantity of the broadband pipe is becoming a lot more valuable and complex," he says. "One of our goals is to make local network management crayon-simple for our customers."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, Light Reading