Lumen trots out 8-gig service for Quantum Fiber subs in 3 cities

Lumen Technologies announced a significant speed boost for Quantum Fiber subscribers in a trio of markets, rolling out a new symmetrical 8-gig service for residents and small businesses.

The operator is offering the new speed tier using its XGS-PON network. Unlike multi-gig fiber services from other operators, Lumen said its 8-gig plan will require the on-premises installation of a permanent network interface and router that is separate from a customer’s Wi-Fi. It claimed this separation will enable “easy Wi-Fi activations and simple upgrades as technology evolves.”

Its new speed tier will initially be available to select customers in cities near Denver, Minneapolis and Seattle. A Lumen representative told Fierce it plans to expand availability of the service "as quickly as we can," adding "the vast majority of our new builds will have 8 gigabit capability."

The new 8-gig tier will cost $300 per month and will be offered alongside a 3-gig option for $150 per month, a 1-gig option for $65 per month and a 200 Mbps service priced at $49 per month. 

The move to introduce its 8-gig service comes after the company’s President of Mass Markets Maxine Moreau teased its development of a multi-gig offer in March.

Lumen’s decision to offer a multi-gig service puts it in step with other operators across the country, including AT&T, Frontier Communications, Verizon, Windstream and Ziply, among others. But Lumen’s offering is on the higher end of the speed tiers being offered. Most others have opted to start with 2-gig or 5-gig offers, though new fiber player Wire 3 is leading with a 10-gig service in Florida.

Speaking about the trend toward multi-gig speeds Lumen’s Q1 2022 earnings call in May, CEO Jeff Storey noted “While it's very early in the adoption phase of this type of capacity, we know there is an insatiable appetite for bandwidth.”

He continued: “Our fiber expansions and the architectures we're now deploying with our accelerated build factor in multi-gig services from the beginning and position us for growth coming from VR, AR, gaming, work and learn from home and other high-bandwidth services.”

As of the end of Q1, Lumen had approximately 830,000 Quantum Fiber subscribers, with 762,000 of these in territories it expects to retain once a deal to sell its ILEC assets in 20 states to Apollo is completed later this year. The operator is aiming to hit 1 million new fiber passings in 2022 and ultimately wants to reach a total of 12 million locations over the coming years.

Lumen is set to report its Q2 2022 results the afternoon of August 3.