Light Reading
The big US MSO views its rapidly growing WiFi network as a way to "disrupt" the wireless data market with potential products.

Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption

Alan Breznick
5/8/2014
50%
50%

Cablevision Systems is looking to use its swiftly expanding WiFi network in the New York metropolitan area to launch products that would "disrupt" the wireless data market.

During the company's first-quarter earnings call Thursday morning, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) CEO James Dolan expanded on his hints in earlier earnings calls that Cablevision is cooking up something big on the wireless front. Though he still didn't disclose any specific plans, Dolan indicated that the nation's fifth-largest MSO is working on WiFi products that "will be disruptive to the current market players," particularly in the wireless data market.

"We've been saying for quite some time that WiFi is a differentiator for our business," Dolan said. Now, with Cablevision's Optimum WiFi network boasting more than 100,000 access points and rapidly growing, "I think you're going to see new products, some of which will be disruptive."

Key to Cablevision's plans is the deployment of more powerful WiFi-outfitted "smart routers" in broadband customers' homes. Taking a leaf out of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK)'s book, Cablevision is furiously installing these data gateways throughout the New York region, because the gateways turn each home into a public hotspot that other broadband users can leverage.

With the deployment of these gateways, Cablevision aims to expand its universe of WiFi access points to 1 million by the end of the year. Employing a similar strategy, the much larger Comcast aims to increase its WiFi network reach from 1 million access points to 8 million by the end of the year. (See Comcast Whips Up More WiFi.)

Dolan said Cablevision has already seen the "total data passed" on its Optimum WiFi network more than double over the past year. Newly named COO Kristin Dolan (the CEO's wife) said more than 1 million "unique Optimum households" used WiFi in the first quarter, up 30% from a year earlier.

Stressing that WiFi is "an unlimited data product" for the MSO, James Dolan also said Cablevision "will continue to push that trend" and will be "aggressive in finding and rolling out new products that ride on the network." He asserted that "there's a lot more traffic that could move to the WiFi network."

The cable company is increasingly emphasizing its WiFi network for growth as, like most other big US MSOs, it continues to gain more broadband subscribers while shedding video subscribers. In the first quarter, for instance, Cablevision added 8,000 high-speed data customers while losing 14,000 video customers.

As a result, Cablevision, with 2.788 million broadband and 2.799 video subscribers, stands poised to become the third major US MSO to have more broadband subs than video subs. In a historic marker for the cable industry, both Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Charter Communications Inc. have already made that shift, indicating that broadband really is cable's future.

In other earnings highlights, Cablevision reported that it gained nearly 8,000 voice subscribers in the first quarter, boosting its total count to almost 2.3 million. However, due to its continued video losses, the overall customer count slipped by 2,000 to just below 3.2 million.

Cablevision's consolidated net revenue climbed 4.3% from a year earlier to $1.58 billion. Consolidated adjusted operating cash flow jumped 24.8% to $434.3 million, and consolidated operating income soared 92.6% to $207.1 million as revenue rose and customer-related costs fell.

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

(15)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 9:54:41 PM
Re: Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption
@kq4ym, yes, I believe it will depend on their ability to execute and build that capability - sounds like a good bet.

I agree with danielcawrey, that the data capability is key.
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/14/2014 | 12:35:22 PM
Re: Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption
If they can indeed expand from 1 million to 8 million hotspots in a short time, that may very well bode well for Cablevision. Whether the investment in infrastructure and new equipment will bring in enough income remains to be seen, but it seems like a gamble worth taking for some possible quick growth.
danielcawrey
100%
0%
danielcawrey,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/10/2014 | 2:30:50 PM
Re: Ubiquitous wifi has been touted as disruptive before, but....
People need data more than they need cable-fed content at this point. Data has rendered content through traditional pipe relatively worthless. I think that wifi offers a great value play, however it requires significant investment because coverage is key. 

I know that there are times when I am automatically connected to wifi hotspots from carriers like Verizon when I am out and about. But the fact of the matter is that I would much rather use my phone's tethering - it's just a more consistent connection when I am on the go. 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/9/2014 | 6:00:53 PM
Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption
@mhhf1ve, I am with you - I think you have very good points!  I truly believe those iterations are not breakthrough disruptions.  If, however, they have developed a new core network capability that creates new capabilities in their platform, that could be disruptive.  But the proof will be in their deliverables and we will know if it is disruptive or not.
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/9/2014 | 5:53:33 PM
Re: Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption
DHagar, Maybe disruption is just too overused to try to create buzz. A vast wireless network built from WiFi devices has some potential to do things that might not otherwise be available... but it's unclear how valuable those things are compared to existing wireless services. Maybe I'm just not creative enough to see the full potential. But I have seen plenty of municipal wifi networks come and go... and I haven't seen any vast decrease in wifi hardware prices or a quantum increase in wifi performance? 
DHagar
50%
50%
DHagar,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/9/2014 | 4:06:09 PM
Cablevision Plots WiFi Market Disruption
@mhhf1ve, I like your healthy questioning of the disruptive claim.  I am seeing that the potential disruption may come from their network, enabling them to compete with new capabilities, services, etc., more than from the user end.  What do you think?

Obviously, time will be the ultimate proof - and we know where we heard the possibility of smokescreens first!

 
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/9/2014 | 1:00:03 PM
Re: Ubiquitous wifi has been touted as disruptive before, but....
 

I have a home Cisco Router (okay Linksys) that has WiFi and a built in guest network.  So not much new there.

I have T-Mobile on a G3 and WiFi calling.  The advantage of VoWiFi is inbuilding coverage compared to Cellular in a lot of places.

I dropped having Cellular on my Tablet and I use my phone as a hotspot if I am ever out of WiFi while working on my tablet.

I am on Comcast and see their hotspots sometimes but don't really get great connectivity out of them.

I just think WiFi is what I use when I sit down...like at a coffee shop.  4G is what I use when I am on the move or on that rare occasion where WiFi is not available where I am sitting.  If WiFi were more available, i would use it more but I am not sure it would cause me to change carriers.

seven

 
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/9/2014 | 12:47:42 PM
Re: Ubiquitous wifi has been touted as disruptive before, but....
Wireless voice over wifi might save users some prime time minutes, but that doesn't sound all that disruptive. Wireless carriers have tried to get people to offload their mobile usage onto their home internet service for a while, but the thing is that benefits the wireless carrier more than it benefits the end user.
CraigPlunkett
50%
50%
CraigPlunkett,
User Rank: Moderator
5/9/2014 | 12:40:44 PM
Re: Ubiquitous wifi has been touted as disruptive before, but....
The addition of home routers that can broadcast multiple SSIDs is still more of a retention play than anything else.  The home router inside your house cannot reliably serve clients on the street, even in urban areas. this is because the radios in the clients on the street cannot reach back inside the house to get to the router.

However, if you do have an apartment building packed with customers, each having an independent Wi-Fi router and the channels are not coordinated, you may have those interference problems, leading to a customer support nightmare.

This is more about making it easy to put guests on your home network and have seamless connecitivity for them.
KBode
100%
0%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/9/2014 | 12:02:44 PM
Re: Ubiquitous wifi has been touted as disruptive before, but....
I'd agree that this sounds incredibly ambiguous and it feels like there should be something else at play here. Is there going to be some kind of wireless voice service figured into the mix?
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Is your network built on 'The Old IP,' or are you part of 'The New IP' revolution?
LRTV Documentaries
Back Office Is Vital for Broadband Evolution

10|2|14   |   02:08   |   (0) comments


The future success of fixed broadband services depends as much on the service provider IT capabilities as new network hardware.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Innovating Access Technology With G.fast

10|1|14   |   3.42   |   (0) comments


Exploring the potential of G.fast technology from the point of view of the Broadband Forum, Huawei – and an end-user.
LRTV Documentaries
A Cultural Shift for an OTT World

9|26|14   |   01:41   |   (3) comments


Telcos need to embrace a new approach to partnerships if they are to generate extra revenues quickly and give customers what they want.
LRTV Documentaries
New Skills Needed as Telecom, IT Collide

9|26|14   |   4:07   |   (1) comment


As telecom and IT collide, new technologies are emerging, new skills are needed and new opportunities for women are arising.
UBB Forum News
Do IP Networks Need An Overhaul?

9|25|14   |   02:01   |   (0) comments


As traffic levels ramp, do IP networks need new technologies and topologies?
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint Wields Its Influence in the Valley

9|25|14   |   3:09   |   (11) comments


Anne-Louise Kardas, Sprint's connection to startups in the Valley, explains how telcos can be innovative and find new opportunities with partners.
LRTV Documentaries
SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network

9|25|14   |   3:47   |   (1) comment


XO Communications COO Don MacNeil explains how cloud, SDN and NFV are altering its network requirements as well as changing data centers of the future.
UBB Forum News
The OTT Conundrum

9|24|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


What is holding back prosperous partnerships between telcos and the OTT players?
LRTV Documentaries
Putting Broadband to Work

9|24|14   |   01:26   |   (0) comments


High-speed broadband network rollout is key to telco strategies, but it's what happens after the network is built that counts.
Light Reedy
Light Reading's Women in Telecom Recap

9|24|14   |   0:55   |   (4) comments


Our first Women in Telecom breakfast was a huge success, and we hope you'll join us in London for the next event on November 6.
UBB Forum News
Monetizing Ultra-Broadband

9|24|14   |   01:43   |   (2) comments


Ultra-broadband networks need to be built, with fiber-to-the-premises the ultimate goal, but they need to be monetized, too.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Sales Director of INIT on Plug & Play Switch Devices

9|19|14   |   3:21   |   (0) comments


INIT Italy uses both the Huawei S5700 and S7700 series switches for the campus LAN environment. Sales Director Andrea Curti says their company chose these Huawei devices over others because of their performance, flexible scalability and plug-and-play features.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Half of the world's population will be connected to the Internet by 2017, but not just by smartphones and desktops.
Hot Topics
Facebook Pokes Around LTE Direct
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/25/2014
Is Redbox Instant Shutting Down?
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/30/2014
Comcast Turns Off Streampix
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/26/2014
SoftBank Eyes a DreamWorks Buy – Report
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/29/2014
Telecom Sector 'Its Own Worst Enemy' – Kroes
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/2/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed