CenturyTel’s quarterly profit fell as gains in DSL customers were more than offset by the continued loss of access line customers. The company also said it was going to expand its trials of IPTV service.
Chairman & CEO Glen Post said “we are considering a couple of what we call happy IPTV light trials in the coming months. Basically we're using 10 megabits. We have had a lot of success in La Crosse, and IPTV market in La Crosse, Wisconsin without HDTV and without DVR capabilities,” he said, adding, “we don't have the broadband speed capabilities to get the 25 to 30 megabits.”
He said the trials would be in some smaller markets later this year. Post’s comments were in response to a question during the company’s conference call with analysts; the transcript of the conversation was from the web site Seeking Alpha.
The company said it is achieving the 10 Mbps speeds in LaCrosse by relying largely on ADSL2+ pair bonding technology; the company expects to continue to use that technology in its upcoming trials, which explains the relatively modest transmission rates.
The trials will be in CenturyTel’s traditional markets; it will have to integrate and upgrade its billing systems, a process that may take as much as 18 months, before it might consider bringing IPTV into markets served by Embarq. CenturyTel announced the purchase of Embarq in October. It expects to finalize that deal sometime in the current second quarter.
Net income during CenturyTel’s first quarter fell to $67.2 million from nearly $89 million in the similar period a year earlier.
The company added 24,000 DSL subs for a total of 665,000.