CenturyLink is unveiling its new fiberoptic-based 1-gigabit Internet service and its Prism TV service in Platteville.
That means that present CenturyLink customers will have to choose the new service or choose a different way to get the Internet and non-over-the-air TV. CenturyLink will be phasing out its old network, including the current CenturyLink TeleVideo service, within the next year.
CenturyLink has been installing fiberoptic cable in Platteville for the past two years. This is the smallest market in CenturyLink’s service area to get this service, even though 80 percent of CenturyLink’s communities are the size of Platteville or smaller, according to CenturyLink general manager Bob Brown.
Brown said CenturyLink chose Platteville for 1Gig and Prism TV because it is “more representative of our communities” while having “a nice population base, strong to moderate in income levels” and “the relationship to the community we’ve got. … You actually have local people to deal with.”
CenturyLink is the state’s second largest broadband and voice provider, but the smallest cable TV provider. Platteville is one of seven Wisconsin markets that have CenturyLink TV, Internet and digital phone service.
The 1Gig Internet service is available for $79.95 per month with automatic payment, Brown said.
“Not everybody wants that or needs that, but it’s fast,” said Brown, adding “when you have 1Gig, there’s no wheel” indicating a computer waiting to download.
The 1Gig service is available to small businesses that don’t need dedicated Internet service.
The base TV lineup, Prism Essential, includes more than 140 channels, including local broadcast channels — WISC-TV (channel 3) in Madison, KWWL-TV (channel 7) in Waterloo, KCRG-TV (channel 9) in Cedar Rapids, WMTV (channel 15) in Madison, WHA-TV (channel 21) in Madison, WKOW-TV (channel 27) in Madison, KFXB-TV (channel 43) in Dubuque, WMSN-TV (channel 47) in Madison, and WBUW-TV (channel 57) in Madison. It also includes sports channels ESPN, the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports Wisconsin, the NFL Network, and the MLB Network, as well as A&E, CNN, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, Fox News Channel, History, Lifetime, MSNBC, TBS, Univision, USA Network, The Weather Channel, and digital music channels.
Prism Complete adds another 60 channels, including Fox College Sports channels, Telemundo, and other subchannels of main cable channels. Prism Preferred offers more than 290 channels, adding BBC World News, and Encore, Showtime, Starz! and TMC movie channels. Prism Premium adds another 30 channels to that, including HBO and Cinemax channels. CenturyLink also offers HD channels, a Spanish-language channel package, and an international channel package.
TV packages run from $34.99 per month for Prism Essential to $79.99 per month for Prism Premium. The service is based on a set-top box with whole-house DVR capability, which costs $9.95 per month to rent. The TV packages also include Prism on the Go, for wireless access or mobile access via WiFi, for some channels.
Brown called Prism TV “the most innovative, latest state-of-the-art TV package you can get.”
Prism TV’s arrival means the end of CenturyLink’s old cable service, the infrastructure of which dates back to the 1960s. Brown said CenturyLink will be offering Prism TV upgrades for Platteville apartment complexes soon.
“It’s getting to the age” where spare parts are not available and “no one wants it anyway,” said Brown, who said CenturyLink will offer a “low-end package that will be very competitive to what they’re getting today.”