Minneapolis approves CenturyLink as cable TV alternative to Comcast

Minneapolis residents are getting an alternative to Comcast for cable TV service. The Minneapolis City Council voted Friday morning to approve a franchise agreement that will allow CenturyLink to offer its Prism TV service to cable subscribers in the city.

Supporters hope competition for subscribers will reduce prices and improve service. CenturyLink hasn't revealed its prices for cable packages, but said they will be comparable to Comcast.

According to a tentative 5-year contract with the city, CenturyLink would offer its Prism TV service to at least 15 percent of Minneapolis households in the first two years. The initial rollout must include sections of all 13 city wards, and must include households below the city's median annual income of $49,560. Residents can start inquiring about Prism TV service in June.

CenturyLink negotiated for a gradual, 15-percent rollout schedule over concerns with the cost of adding cable to its existing phone and internet grid.

Comcast is currently under a 12-year contract with the city.

"Comcast does business in a highly competitive marketplace, with satellite, online video, wi-fi and more. Bottom line, we will continue to bring our customers superior choice, value and reliability," said a statement from Mary Beth Schubert, Comcast's vice president of corporate affairs. "Our ongoing investments in our network, technology and people will also make it possible to launch new products and services, such as gigabit internet speeds, to every home in our service area, not just a few select neighborhoods."