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CenturyLink updates on acquisition integration, IPTV thoughts

Telco has eight markets with Prism TV service, still studying potential to launch IPTV in Qwest region


Connected Planet

By Dan O'Shea

May 6, 2010

In its first quarterly earnings report since closing the Qwest Communications merger last month, CenturyLink noted progress in its efforts to integrate both the Qwest operations and Embarq business it acquired more than two and a half years ago, while setting goals for absorbing its latest acquisition, Savvis.

The telco also said it is working to expand its nascent IPTV services in existing markets, but does not yet have any plans for rolling out IPTV in its newly-acquired Qwest territories.

A little more than a month after the Qwest deal closed, CenturyLink President and CEO Glenn Post said during this week’s earnings call that the company is aiming to complete the integration of financial and human resources activities by the end of this. CenturyLink previously announced a new local operating structure and marketing plan for the Qwest region, and Post said on the call that network grooming also is now underway.

Post said CenturyLink is also close to finishing the integration of Embarq assets from a deal it announced in October 2008. He said the company will conduct its final regional customer billing conversion in the third quarter. That should free up CenturyLink to work on the integration of Savvis business operations it recently acquired. Among other plans, Post said Savvis’ hosting business would be integrated with the existing hosting operations of Qwest.

On the TV front, Post said CenturyLink launched its Prism IPTV service in three new markets last quarter, bringing its total number of IPTV markets to eight.

“The number of households passed increased nearly 22 percent in the first quarter, and we continue to expect to pass close to a million households by the end of the year,” Post said.

For now, CenturyLink is focusing on selling those existing markets rather than planning an imminent IPTV rollout in the Qwest region. Post said the company has not made a final decision on when IPTV could come to the Qwest markets, but expects to make that decision around midyear.

“We think there could be some opportunity there,” Post said, but added that CenturyLink is doing an in-depth analysis of the costs requirements for launching in the Qwest markets.

In addition to IPTV, CenturyLink resells DirecTV service, and Post said the telco added more than 34,000 satellite TV subscribers in the first quarter to reach a total of 662,000 satellite subscribers and just over 15 percent penetration of TV services on its residential landline accounts.