CenturyLink has started selling its new Prism TV service in the Omaha metro area, while the telecommunications provider is still in negotiations with at least one city, La Vista, to allow the cable television system there.
The company is conducting a “soft launch” of the service in the Omaha market during its second quarter, April through June, Chief Executive Officer Glen Post told analysts in May. Prism fliers have been left in doors in at least one Papillion area neighborhood referring residents to the website seeprismtv.com.
Not including Omaha, Post said that by the end of March, the company had a total of 120,000 Prism subscribers, with 13,400 of those added in the first quarter. He said CenturyLink has an average market penetration of around 10 percent in its markets where Prism is available, which include Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Phoenix; and Raleigh, N.C.
The Internet-based television service is provided through fiber-to-the-premises technology. Post said the service “continues to perform well” and is an alternative to traditional cable television. More than half the Prism customers added in the first quarter were new to CenturyLink, he said.
Local government officials have said they expect CenturyLink to compete aggressively with Cox Communications, lowering prices.
CenturyLink has negotiated cable franchise agreements with Douglas and Sarpy Counties and the cities of Ralston, Gretna, Papillion, Springfield and Bellevue. An agreement will appear on a future council agenda in La Vista, a city spokesman said.
Cable franchise agreements describe the terms under which cities let cable providers install a cable system in city rights of way. The agreements set fees and set the cable provider's responsibilities to provide educational and governmental programming.
The City of Gretna approved its cable franchise agreement Tuesday.
City administrator Jeff Kooistra said CenturyLink did not provide him details of how the service works or how the fiber system would be installed in city rights of way.
He thinks the service will be an advantage for residents and businesses in the metro area.
“People always like to have options, and this gives them another wired option,” in addition to satellite TV service, he said. “I think it's a good economic development tool for our community.”
Danny Pate, CenturyLink's top executive in Omaha, said he couldn't comment on the system.
A CenturyLink salesman said there are three Prism packages available for customers who want to bundle Internet and TV service. When paired with Internet service and placed on just one television in a home, the Prism Premium package costs $128.95 a month; Prism Complete package, $85.95 a month; and Prism TV package, $69.95 a month. Packages differ in the number of channels included and in the length of time that certain amenities such as HD broadcasting and DVR services are included at no extra cost.
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