How much does CenturyLink Fiber (gigabit internet) cost in Seattle? And why is this so hard to answer?

tl;dr: Somewhere between $145 and $187 per month.

A few months ago in summer 2015, I spotted contractors putting up barricades on my block in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood. They were doing a lot of work on the electrical poles. When asked what they were up to, they said the were installing fiber optic infrastructure for CenturyLink. When I asked what kind of bandwidth we could expect, I believe the phrase the contractor used was “It’s gonna be speedy as fuck.”

So it sounds like the service is finally up and running. The availability tool on the CenturyLink website is returning positive results for my place, plus the company is sending door-to-door sales people around Beacon Hill to pitch the service to interested customers. I got a visit from a sales rep last night (Oct 2015) but ended up with some dubious-sounding details about the services and pricing. I compared this to info pulled from CenturyLink’s website as well details from a phone sales rep, none of which seemed to match up.

Here’s a breakdown of the prices and feature sets I got from three different CenturyLink sources: from the door-to-door salesperson, from a telephone sales representative and from the CenturyLink website:

This is a shitty screenshot of a spreadsheet. I suppose HTML tables get in the way of delivering compelling content.

Here are links to those YouTube videos that explain the Prism TV service:

And some additional things I noticed while gathering this info:

  • The door-to-door salesperson was adamant in claiming that purchasing both internet and PrismTV service together was cheaper than internet service alone. We went over this several times, and I drew it up on paper. She swore this was the case, but had no printed materials or contracts to back this up. When I asked for a business card to be able to refer back to this later, she told me that the door-to-door people didn’t have them and were instructed never to give this info out. She was very polite and eager to help, but didn’t seem to have a lot of helpful information.
  • None of the sales staff I spoke to were able to confidently explain what Prism TV was. They clearly didn’t understand exactly what the service did. You can’t just say “it’s streams shows” — I want to know what services it uses (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Crackle, etc) or if it uses its own. What’s the DVR’s capacity? Does “Prism on the go” only work when I’m on my home network?
  • The telephone sales representative started friendly enough, but got increasingly impatient with my questions and eventually hung up on me. It started to turn sour when we got to the PrismTV question:
Sales rep: Do you have a SmartTV?
Me: Yup.
Sales rep (paraphrased): Prism works with your smart TV to play streaming video.
Me: But that’s what a SmartTV does. What does that have to do with Prism?
Sales rep: …
Me (realizing this guy isn’t helping): Do you guys have a showroom where I can look at the Prism TV and play around with it? Comcast has storefronts where you can do this.
Sales rep (paraphrasing again): I’m here to help people sign up for service. I don’t have all these details. When you’re ready to sign up for service, let us know.
Me: I still have more questions. Can I get your information to…
[ Sales rep hangs up ]
Later, shitlord.

I hope you folks around Seattle find this helpful. And CenturyLink: I think your sales strategy could use some fine tuning.

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