According to AZCentral.com, a website bringing news to the state of Arizona, local phone provider CenturyLink is getting into the cable TV business in order to combat business lost as people move away from local, wired telephone service to cell phones.
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Officials at the company formerly known as Qwest Communications have realized that offerings other than traditional phone service represent their best hope for long-term success, said Ken McMahon, CenturyLink’s vice president and general manager for the Phoenix market.
“Owning the broadband connection to the home or the business is the future of our company,” McMahon said. “That’s where we’re developing all of our products and services.”
The new high-definition TV service, called Prism, will put CenturyLink in direct competition with cable-TV giant Cox Communications and satellite providers such as Dish Network and DirecTV.
The company already has been competing with Cox for several years as a provider of both telephone and broadband Internet service.
Prism is available to most residents of Chandler and Gilbert, McMahon said, and the service will continue to expand into other parts of the Phoenix area throughout this year and the next.
Introducing the TV service requires significant network upgrades, as well as opening retail centers, he said. The company opened its first storefront on Feb. 5 in Chandler, at 2780 W. Chandler Boulevard, Suite 5.
The Phoenix area is the ninth CenturyLink market to receive Prism service, McMahon said. Other markets in which the service is available include Las Vegas, Tallahassee, Fla., and Madison, Wis.
CenturyLink is offering six-month introductory prices of $40 a month for basic Prism service, $56 a month for expanded service and $99 a month for premium service that includes pay channels such as HBO.
McMahon said long-term pricing varies because of service-bundling discounts.
The Phoenix-area lineup is similar to that of Cox, he said, with about 280 available channels.
The service requires new technology provided by CenturyLink that includes a wireless router known as a residential gateway and a set-top box for each household TV. Both wired and wireless boxes are available, McMahon said.
McMahon said customers can learn more about the service by visiting seeprismtv.com or calling 480-722-0317.
More on this story as it develops at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog.