& cplSiteName &

Comcast IDs First DTA Market

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
10/29/2008
50%
50%

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has identified Portland, Ore., as one of the first markets that will fuel an all-digital migration with one-way digital terminal adapters (DTAs).

"Portland is getting ready to go as we speak with the new DTA boxes, which are now in stock and in test homes," Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said this morning during the MSO's third quarter earnings call.

Comcast is expected to deploy DTAs aggressively as part of an all-digital strategy that will enable the operator to reclaim spectrum from about 40 analog channels, reusing it for Docsis 3.0 and expanded high-definition television (HDTV) and video-on-demand (VOD) services.

Comcast anticipates migrating 20 percent of its footprint to all-digital by year's end, and has said previously that it might need as many as 25 million DTAs to complete the migration over the next 12 months to 18 months. Comcast said it plans to deploy millions of DTAs in the fourth quarter alone. (See Comcast Doctoring Digital in Detroit , Comcast Pursuing $35 Digital Dongle, and Comcast Confirms Digital Dongle Project.)

So far, Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453), and Pace Micro Technology have been identified as Comcast's DTA suppliers. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) also has a DTA on the roadmap. (See Pace Pix , DTAs on Parade , Thomson Confirms Comcast DTA Order, and Cisco Doubles Up for Cable.)

Even with a self-install option, Comcast anticipates that its DTA markets will require additional truck rolls and elevated levels of marketing. Those costs are "all baked into our plans, but it does have an effect on the profitability of that system when it's going through that conversion," Roberts said.

Comcast COO Steve Burke later downplayed concerns that the DTAs will provide access to the operator's expanded basic digital signals without encryption -- at least for the foreseeable future.

"In many senses, it (digital video fed through DTAs) will be more secure than the analog distribution," Burke said. "We will not be using encryption initially, and that's fine in terms of our programming contracts." Those DTAs, however, could activate so-called "privacy mode" encryption via a firmware upgrade, but doing so could force the operator to seek out a special set-top waiver from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . (See Comcast's DTAs: Security Optional .)

Weathering the economy
Comcast's third-quarter results showed the operator wasn't yet effected by a turbulent economy, but it did witness slower subscriber growth in some service categories.

Revenues rose 10 percent to $8.5 billion, with net income reaching $771 million (26 cents per share), versus $560 million (18 cents per share) in the year-ago period. (See Comcast Reports Q3.)

On the service front, Comcast lost 147,000 basic subscribers in the quarter, much worse than a 27,000 basic subscriber loss expected by Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc.

Comcast, however, added 417,000 digital video subscribers, extending that total to 16.8 million and a penetration rate of 69 percent. About 7.3 million of that total also subscribe to the MSO's digital video recording (DVR) and/or hi-def service.

The operator also signed up 382,000 cable modem subscribers, giving it 14.7 million subs. Comcast noted that it was still too early to judge the success of its initial rollout of Docsis 3.0, the baseline for its new 50 Mbit/s and 22 Mbit/s downstream service tiers. (See Comcast Takes 'Wideband' Wider .)

"We have [Docsis 3.0] customers now, but measured in the hundreds," Burke said. "The good news is, technically, it works beautifully… but in terms of customer reaction, it's just too early."

Comcast signed up 483,000 digital voice subscribers, extending the total to 6.1 million, or a penetration rate of 13 percent. Growth in the category slowed (the MSO added 550,000 VOIP subscribers in the previous quarter), and Comcast noted that it's growing weary of churn caused by customers who cut their hardline in favor of getting voice services only from a wireless carrier.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:28:34 PM
re: Comcast IDs First DTA Market
Does Comcast see any real revenue boost from all these DTAs, or are they just trying not to tick off customers as they upgrade their networks?
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:28:33 PM
re: Comcast IDs First DTA Market
The payoff for them is the bandwidth they recapture for Docsis 3.0 and more HDTV and VOD, which are all tied to revenues. But I think this will also put a lot more analog subs in digital tiers...and gateway them to vod, hd, dvrs, etc.
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:28:27 PM
re: Comcast IDs First DTA Market
Maybe...if they want to have access to the expanded basic tier. But Comcast hasn't announced the pricing under the DTA model. They may have to give these away (a certain # per analog home) to make it work. Foisting DTAs on subs and hitting them with additional fees for that...ahem...privilege makes no sense. JB
OldPOTS
50%
50%
OldPOTS,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:28:27 PM
re: Comcast IDs First DTA Market
It makes them competitive (HD & VOD) but it messes with fast channel switching and multiple sets which most base subs like.

Then are these customers going to add more expense in these economic times?

OP
From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TeliaSonera: Striving for Independence

2|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Peter Lagergren discusses the importance of decoupling the network from services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Ken Wang on U-vMOS

2|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Ken Wang discusses how video will take of the traffic on carrier networks and become a basic service to provide to end users.
LRTV Documentaries
All Change in Video

2|11|16   |   33:12   |   (1) comment


At this moderated panel at 2020 Vision in Dublin, Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader of Light Reading, sits down with Jeff Finkelstein, director of network architecture at Cox Communications, to discuss the rapidly changing video market.
LRTV Custom TV
Hosting in Ireland, Past & Present

2|10|16   |   16:07   |   (0) comments


Garry Connolly, president of Host in Ireland, presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
What's Hot in Mobile Commerce?

2|10|16   |   12:18   |   (1) comment


Claire Maslen, financial services relationship manager at the GSMA, talks about the development of the digital commerce sector and the types of relationships that mobile operators are developing to further their m-commerce strategies.
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (1) comment


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
AT&T Lights Fire Under 5G, Plans 2016 Trials
Iain Morris, News Editor, 2/12/2016
Andreessen Facepalms on Facebook Free Basics
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 2/10/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.