Light Reading
Suddenlink unveils $230 million capital program to upgrade most of its cable systems for gigabit service by 2017.

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
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
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Interviews
From 4G to 5G: Alcatel-Lucent's Dave Geary

11|25|14   |   09:09   |   (1) comment


Dave Geary, President of Wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, talks about the evolution of the 4G market, small cells, partnerships, 5G and the IoT.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Secure Telefonica Network With Huawei's High-End Firewall

11|24|14   |   4:37   |   (0) comments


Andrew Davies, IP architect of the Telefonica, a leading digital communications company, discusses the Huawei security gateway solution and putting the solution into the testbed.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Partners with Spirent to Verify CE12816's 10GE Port & TRILL Networking Capabilities

11|24|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Spirent Communications is the world's leading supplier for telecom testing appliances and solutions. Spirent has been in a close partnership with Huawei for a long time.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Airlines & Its ICT Transformation

11|24|14   |   2:07   |   (0) comments


In this video, Saudi Airlines discusses its network problems and how Huawei's Agile Network is its all-in-one solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Switch Benefiting Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital

11|24|14   |   2:40   |   (0) comments


Saudi Arabia's Yamamah Hospital speaks about how Huawei's Agile Switch has improved the medical service's network infrastructure.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
FanPlay & Huawei Build a Wireless Agile Smart Stadium

11|24|14   |   2:13   |   (0) comments


FanPlay is a cloud-based white label service, which is effectively a football fan engagement platform underpinned by mobile payment technology.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building an Agile Stadium

11|24|14   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Stadiums may be thousands of tons of concrete and steel, but they now need to be agile. Being at the stadium may not be as alluring as it once was. Sports franchises and stadium operators discuss how to get fans back.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Helps ChinaCache Tackle Challenges in the Internet Industry

11|24|14   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


ChinaCache is China's largest content distribution network supplier. Huawei's CE12800 has provided ChinaCache with very strong support in its establishment of an infrastructure network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cefinity on Managed Security Services & Next-Generation Firewall

11|24|14   |   7:05   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a cloud management service provider in Southeast Asia. Ivan Zhang, CEO of the company, discusses the implementation of security service management in the cloud era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Agile Gateway in the Eyes of Cefinity

11|24|14   |   2:11   |   (0) comments


Cefinity is a managed service provider for enterprise networks. The company currently uses Huawei's AR series routers for the most complete range of functions. CEO Ivan Zhang speaks about the advantages of the AR series routers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
CTO of Bus-Online Talks About Huawei's Agile Gateway

11|24|14   |   2:53   |   (0) comments


Bus-Online covers around 100 million users everyday. In addition to providing mobile TV, and advertising services to the public, Bus-Online has also entered the field of mobile Internet.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Amsterdam ArenA as an Agile Campus

11|24|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Amsterdam ArenA, home of the Ajax soccer team, can be a crowded space. ArenA has partnered with Huawei to work on bringing ample bandwidth to 53,000 people at the same time.
Upcoming Live Events
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 8-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Irish Telecom outlines the rise of VoIP technology, including its adoption within businesses and their perception of its quality.
Hot Topics
Bell Labs Chief Slams 'Toy' Networks
Robert Clark, 11/19/2014
$38.3M: Ain't That a Kik in the SMS
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/20/2014
Do You Have a 2020 Vision?
Dennis Mendyk, Vice President of Research, Heavy Reading, 11/21/2014
Operators Should Block Ads to Get Their Cut, Startup Says
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 11/24/2014
$35B+ Spectrum Auction Dings Verizon, Shines Dish
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 11/24/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed