In a fourth-quarter earnings call last week, Qwest CEO Dick Notebaert indicated that even though his company is interested in IPTV, it would prefer to be a follower in the IPTV industry, rather than take charge like AT&T and Verizon. The carrier has built an FTTH network reaching 2,350 households in new developments in its 14-state territory. But with a CAPEX this year slightly more than the $1.6 billion last year, the operator will base any further fiber extensions on customer demand. Qwest faces increasing competition from cable operators such as Comcast and even some cities in its region such as Portland, OR, which may build their own fiber networks. Qwest broke even for the first time since its 2000 merger with U S West.
Qwest's fourth-quarter revenue increased by 1.3 percent to $3.48 billion and totaled $13.9 billion for 2005, up from $13.8 billion in 2004. Qwest increased its spending in the fourth quarter to $503 million, up 35 percent from $372 million during the same period in 2004. The company now reaches 77 percent of its footprint with DSL services that run off existing copper lines between 3 and 5 Mbps. Qwest serves nearly 70,000 customers with fiber, copper and coax TV options. Qwest offers direct broadcast satellite service with partner DirecTV with 128,000 new customers in the fourth quarter, a 31 percent rise compared to the third quarter.