& cplSiteName &

Suddenlink Joins Gigabit Club

Alan Breznick
8/12/2014
50%
50%

Suddenlink Communications has become the latest US broadband provider to come down with gigabit fever.

Suddenlink Communications , the seventh-largest US cable operator, revealed plans late last week to upgrade nearly all its cable systems for 1Gbit/s service over the next three years. Speaking on the company's second-quarter earnings call Friday, Suddenlink executives said they will spend an extra $230 million in capital expenditures, starting with $35 million in the second half of this year, to boost the capabilities of their systems and clear more bandwidth.

Specifically, the "Operation GigaSpeed" initiative calls for Suddenlink to upgrade its cable modem termination systems (CMTSs), replace its DOCSIS 2.0 cable modems with 3.0 modems and higher, and reclaim more analog video bandwidth by converting the rest of its cable systems to all-digital video delivery. With these measures, MSO officials aim to offer top download speeds of 1 Gbit/s to nearly 90% of their broadband customers by 2017, and maximum speeds of 200 Mbit/s to another 8% of their subscribers.

Suddenlink chairman and CEO Jerry Kent said he expects nearly half of the planned 1Gbit/s launches to be completed by the end of next year. Most of the remainder are expected to be completed in 2016.

In addition, Suddenlink is planning to boost its upstream speeds, although officials didn't say how much. Just a couple of months ago, the MSO began rolling out new high-speed tiers in two Texas markets featuring maximum download speeds of 300 Mbit/s and maximum upload speeds of 15 Mbit/s for $65 a month. (See Two US MSOs Boost Broadband Speeds.)

Sticking to their usual practice, Suddenlink executives didn't disclose exactly where and when they will launch gigabit service. But chances are, the initial launches will take place in the same Texas markets outside Austin where the MSO has hiked speeds first before.


For more of Light Reading's coverage of gigabit launches by broadband providers, visit our broadband FTTx content channel.


On the earnings call, Kent admitted to analysts that the company is taking this latest step partly as a defensive move to stave off further forays by telco and other broadband rivals. While less than 10% of Suddenlink's homes passed are overlapped by telco wireline "overbuilds," he said, both AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Google Fiber Inc. are now starting to roll out their 1Gbit/s services in or near the MSO's prime Texas markets.

But mainly, Kent said, Suddenlink is seeking to go on the offensive so that it can pick up more broadband customers. "It's fair to say we might be a bit ahead of the curve," he said. "I think our competition will not be able to be very competitive against us unless they make significant investments."

Suddenlink has carried out this type of preemptive broadband speed hike before. More than four years ago, the company started offering maximum download speeds of 107 Mbit/s, at a time when most cable operators and telcos hadn't exceeded 50 Mbit/s yet.

The Operation GigaSpeed launch comes as Suddenlink and other US cable operators are clearly shifting their emphasis away from video to broadband. Just last week, for instance, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) CEO James Dolan indicated that new broadband services offered the most promise for his company. (See Cablevision Looks to Data as Great Savior.)

Kent sounded a similar theme on the earnings call. Calling it "a mature business with somewhat declining margins," he said, "Video is not going to be our main driver going forward." Instead, he said, the company will focus more on broadband, WiFi, telephony and commercial services.

Suddenlink's second-quarter performance reflected that shift. The MSO picked up 200 residential high-speed data subscribers in the typically weak spring quarter -- an improvement over its loss of 8,700 data customers a year ago. Over the past 12 months, the company has netted 77,700 data customers, boosting its broadband customer base to 1.1 million.

In contrast, Suddenlink lost 18,700 basic video subscribers during the second quarter, although that still represented an improvement over the 23,100 it lost a year earlier. Over the past 12 months, the MSO has shed 20,200 video customers, dropping its total below 1.2 million.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/13/2014 | 9:09:50 AM
90%?
"MSO officials aim to offer top download speeds of 1 Gbit/s to nearly 90% of their broadband customers by 2017..."

I find this highly unlikely, even if this mark is three years away. That's a promise definitely worth remembering. I'd also wonder what kind of upstream speeds we'll be talking about?
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (2) comments


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE 5G World Highlights

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcases its leading 5G innovations at 5G World in London.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.