CenturyLink launches IPTV service in Portland, officially kicks off battle with Comcast

A brewing, multiregion turf battle between CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and its IPTV service and incumbent cable operator Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has gotten underway in Portland, Ore., where CenturyLink has launched its fiber-backed Prism TV service to the handful of residents with the necessary 1 Gbps-plus broadband speed.

CenturyLink is offering the service at a traditional one-year promotional rate of around $60 a month, with prices springing to $90 a month after that first year. Prism includes a wireless DVR set-top, multiscreen apps and access to a wide array of regional sports channels.

Based on research conducted by the Portland Oregonian, only about a third of CenturyLink's local subscribers have the broadband infrastructure needed to get Prism. CenturyLink's efforts to expand the service will coincide with Comcast's effort to expand its cloud-based X1 video platform in the Portland region--the No. 1 cable operator believes X1 is a key differentiator in regional battles with satellite and IPTV operators.

Portland is just one market in which Prism and X1 will ultimately face off, with CenturyLink making headway with local governments to deploy Prism in Seattle and Minneapolis, as well.

As for Portland, Wednesday's official deployment of Prism culminates a years-long effort to establish a competitive pay-TV market.

"There is no doubt that Portland is a hub for innovation, and the launch of CenturyLink's Prism TV service brings more best-in-class television service options to the city," said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, contributing to CenturyLink's statement. "Thanks to CenturyLink's recent 1 gigabit infrastructure build-out, Portland residents will now have unparalleled accessibility to content and connectivity in both their homes and businesses."

For more:
- read this CenturyLink press release
- read this Portland Oregonian story

Related links:
CenturyLink could convert legacy, network businesses to REIT this year, say analysts
CenturyLink to bring 1 Gbps broadband to 700,000 homes by end of year
CenturyLink is close to winning a TV franchise in Minneapolis and doing battle with Comcast