CenturyLink to trial video streaming service in four markets

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) has thrown its hat in the ring among pay-TV operators experimenting with IP-based delivery of video content.

The company is currently testing an unmanaged network streaming service, Prism Stream, in four unnamed markets, existing outside the footprint for its PrismTV IPTV service, CenturyLink CTO Aamir Hussain said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media And Telecom Conference Wednesday, an event covered by FierceTelecom's Sean Buckley.

Hussain's announcement came just a day after AT&T said that it will launch streaming versions of its DirecTV satellite TV serviced, starting in the fourth quarter.

"The product we're building, which is pretty close to AT&T's (NYSE: T) new video product, is an over-the-top product that caters to the millennial generation," Hussain said. "It has smaller packages and we are going to trial it in four markets outside of our Prism footprint just to learn from that and understand what penetration it can bring."

"The platform has been built," he added. "The content agreements have almost been negotiated."

Delivering video over-the-top will allow CenturyLink to reduce the bandwidth requirement for pay-TV services from 25 Mbps to 10 Mbps.

"We can literally double the size of our footprint in a very short period of time," Hussain said.

Although CenturyLink has not been aggressively growing its Prism IPTV footprint of late, the operator likes what video does for its growth — 50 percent of Prism TV customers are new to the company, and 98 percent of them also subscribe to CenturyLink broadband services.

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