Light Reading

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?
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (4) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
RJio to Launch Its Own 4G Devices Brand
Gagandeep Kaur, Contributing Editor, 7/27/2015
Qualcomm Wants FCC to Stay Out of LTE-U Fray
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
September 22, 2015
Media Begins With “Me”
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Distract-a-Cat Click Here
The vibrate function makes for a useful cat distraction.