The other shoe finally dropped for Qwest Communications' Choice TV, the DSL-based TV service that the telco (then U S West) launched 10 years ago in Arizona. Qwest said it is phasing out the service and attempting to migrate customers to its DirecTV partner. With what has happened to Qwest in the years since, it is easy to forget that prior to the U S West-Qwest merger, U S West helped pioneer the concept of telco as video provider.
About 42,000 Qwest customers in portions of Arizona subscribe to Choice TV, and while the service has been offered in a small portion of Colorado as well, the telco has never further pursued the idea, and the future of the service has been in doubt for some time. Instead of expanding it, Qwest, similar to other former RBOCs, forged a satellite TV partnership to gain quicker, less expensive access to the TV market, and to support bundled service plans. Qwest now has more than 700,000 video customers through its relationship with DirecTV, and gained more than 32,000 of them during the second quarter of this year.
The Choice TV phase-out could take until the end of 2009, according to Arizona's East Valley Tribune. In addition to the successful DirecTV partnership, Qwest within the last year has taken a strong stance against establishing its own IPTV network and service capabilities. Choice TV doesn't have video-on-demand and other capabilities associated with IPTV or modern satellite TV, and instead of investing in its own branded TV service, the telco has opted to fund a less expensive, targeted fiber-to-the-node network upgrade with the purpose of providing customers with more bandwidth for them to use in any way they choose.
- read this story at Arizona's East Valley Tribune
Qwest added 32,000 video customers in the second quarter
Qwest definitively said no to video back in January