Qwest Unplugs IPTV Customers


Qwest Communications International has started to phase out the IPTV service it offered in the Phoenix area, giving the fewer than 42,000 customers for its Choice TV service there an option to switch to DirecTV instead, according to the Arizona’s East Valley Tribune

The telco rolled out Choice TV starting in 1998 in the Phoenix suburbs. But it was never characterized as more than a market test (the service also had a small pocket in Denver), and last year Qwest officially announced it had decided to scrap plans to expand the IPTV service.

Too expensive, Qwest CEO Ed Mueller told analysts last December (see Qwest CEO: No IPTV For You).

While Qwest said it would continue to build out its fiber-to-the-node network, that is “not intended as a deployment of IPTV,” Mueller said. “We do not believe that our scale and the current capital and labor requirements of this type of product support this approach.” 

Many on Wall Street (well before the current crisis) have been critical of AT&T’s and Verizon’s huge network outlays required for rolling out TV service.

A Qwest rep told the East Valley Tribune that the phase-out of Choice TV began Monday and will continue through the end of 2009. 

Note that Qwest’s IPTV customers could also decide to drop the telco altogether — and go with a triple play from Cox Communications, the cable operator in the Phoenix area.