Global communications, hosting, cloud and IT services company, CenturyLink, has announced that it has one of the largest fibre-enabled gigabit networks in the US and continues as an industry leader in the number of homes it has enabled with broadband speeds up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps).
The company said that it now offers gigabit Internet service to residential and small business customers in parts of 17 US states and, by end-2015, should have more than 700,000 households across the country enabled with FTTH technology capable of uploading and downloading information at speeds up to 1-Gbps.
CenturyLink said it first launched gigabit service to residents and small businesses in Omaha in 2013 as part of a fibre network trial and in August 2014, announced that it had expanded that gigabit service to residential and business customers in 16 markets. In May 2015, CenturyLink said it extended gigabit fibre service to additional small and midsized businesses (SMBs) located near the company's fibre network backbone or in fibre-fed multi-tenant unit office buildings, resulting in gigabit service being available to nearly 490,000 SMBs.
The company said that its gigabit service is now available to residential and small business customers in parts of six new states including Arizona, Idaho, Iowa, New Mexico, North Carolina and South Dakota.
CenturyLink was awarded the 2015 FTTH Council's Chairman's Award in acknowledgement of its efforts to promote, educate and accelerate deployment of FTTH.
A recent FTTH Council study shows that access to gigabit networking can add more than $5,400 to the value of the average US home.
CenturyLink is also deploying Prism® TV, an interactive TV service delivered through its nationwide fibre optic network, in many cities where it is offering gigabit service and has secured franchise agreements. Prism® TV is an alternative to cable and satellite services and provides customers with the latest in entertainment technology, the company said.
Connections in rural America
Separately, in late August this year, CenturyLink accepted $500 million a year for six years from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC)'s Connect America Fund (CAF). The money will allow it to bring high-speed Internet services to about 1.2 million rural households and businesses in 33 US states over that period.
Under the scheme, CenturyLink is accepting 33 CAF phase II state-wide offers from the FCC to bring Internet service with speeds of at least 10-Mbps download and 1-Mbps upload to locations in FCC-designated, high-cost census blocks.
Once CenturyLink's CAF II six-year build-out plan is finalised over the coming months, construction is expected to begin in early 2016. The company said it decided to decline the CAF II state-wide offers for the states of California, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Wyoming. According to the CAF II rules, companies must decide whether to accept CAF II funding and related service obligations for their service areas on a state-wide basis. If a company declines to accept a CAF II state-wide offer, that funding will be subject to a competitive bidding process prescribed by the FCC whereby eligible providers can bid to serve all or part of those areas.
CenturyLink said it may elect to participate in the FCC's bidding process and compete for CAF II support once the auction rules and requirements are finalised by the FCC.
The FCC created the CAF program in 2011 to facilitate the deployment of high-speed Internet access in high-cost locations by transitioning Universal Service Fund money that was supporting rural landline service to the build-out of broadband infrastructure in rural communities.
CenturyLink said it previously accepted about $75 million in CAF phase I interim, one-time support to bring broadband with 4-Mbps download speed to nearly 114,000 unserved rural locations.