American Midwest triple-play operator Midcontinent Communications has launched the MidcoNet Xstream Wideband 100 Mbps Internet service, a response to heavy spikes in streaming video traffic on its network.

"MidcoNet Xstream Wideband is ultimately a shift in technology," said Jon Pederson, vice president of technology at MidCo. "Data expansion provides the capacity and speed necessary to view rich Internet content, from streaming video to online gaming, concurrently on multiple devices throughout the home."

As if to make its online video point beyond just the service name, the operator is giving customers free access to, ESPN's 24/7 broadband sports network, which offers more than 3,500 live, global sports events annually. The main viewing window offer saccess to up to 20 simultaneous event feeds. Video can be viewed in widescreen (16:9) and normal (4:3) views and can be expanded to full screen or reduced to a compact size. Recently completed events are archived and available for on-demand replay

More than 250,000 residential MidCo customers will have access to speeds up to 100 Mbps down and 15 Mbps up, thanks to a switch to digital tchnology and channel bonding. Previously, the average speed in the South Dakota region is 3 Mbps, bare minimum to carry decent-looking online video.

The carrier is now offering three tiers of service: MidcoNet Xstream Wideband 3.0 for 100 Mbps downloads and 15 Mbps uploads; MidcoNet Xstream Wideband 2.0 for 50 Mbps downloads and 10 Mbps uploads; and MidcoNet Xstream Wideband 1.0 for 30 Mbps downloads and 5 Mbps uploads. Some neighborhoods will get speeds up to 300 Mpbs.

"The rate of Internet usage increased 116 percent last year and has increased more than 300 percent since 2009," says Pat McAdaragh, president and CEO of MidCo, in a statement. "The demand for streaming online content is skyrocketing. Speed is important, but with multiple devices connected to the Internet, capacity is essential. MidcoNet Xstream Wideband delivers both the speed and capacity necessary to meet our customers' needs, now and for years to come."

This is a good example of rural telcos taking the lead in innovative business models. 100 Mbps is a rarity in most markets, including FiOS and AT&T U-verse regions. The focus on streaming online video as a way to supercharge the broadband proposition is a poster-child deployment of a telco embracing OTT content.