Back in May CenturyLink announced that the company would be bringing 1 Gbps service to a select number of customers in Omaha
. While nobody is connected at these speeds yet, CenturyLink recently started advertising the 1 Gbps service
, which will piggyback on older HFC gear used by Qwest for TV services. When select Omaha users can finally get the 1 Gbps service, it will run them $150 standalone, or $80 when bundled with existing television and phone services.
Speaking last week at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference, Stewart Ewing, CFO of CenturyLink reiterated that this Omaha offering would be largely a test platform, but might
lead to other one gig deployments.
"I think we'll use that as a test bed to see again how well we can compete and penetration rates in that market versus other markets where we don't have Fiber to the Home," Ewing told attendees
. "If it makes sense to roll out fiber to other areas we'll potentially look at other areas, but that's out in the future as opposed to right now where we want to look at Omaha to see what kind of results we get there."
Again, Omaha was unique because a good amount of infrastructure was already in place there.
"When we looked at it and the dense fiber they deployed in Omaha we decided to it was actually about the same cost to do Fiber to the Home as it is to do Fiber to the Node," Ewing said. "You get so much better performance from a speed standpoint and, we think, from an expense standpoint to see and track the same type of expense savings where Verizon has done Fiber to the Home."
While nice for a few thousand users in Omaha, it should be clear that this 1 Gbps deployment is, like AT&T's 1 Gbps promise to Austin
, a somewhat theatrical PR response to Google Fiber. CenturyLink hasn't the funds, willpower or competitive pressure to seriously deploy even 100 Mbps service across most of its footprint, and most customers remain lucky to see 3 to 6 Mbps.