& cplSiteName &

Cablevision Begins Wideband Assault

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
7/31/2008
50%
50%

Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is starting rollouts of the speedy Docsis 3.0 platform to help it fend off competition from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and its fiber-fed FiOS service.

"We haven't announced a marketing strategy... but [Docsis 3.0] will be operational this year," said Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge Thursday morning during the MSO's second quarter earnings call.

Docsis 3.0, also known as "Wideband," bonds together multiple 6 MHz channels to produce shared speeds in excess of 100 Mbit/s. So far, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is the only U.S. MSO to make a significant commitment to the technology this year, planning to wire up to 20 percent of its platform for Docsis 3.0 by year's end, and across the board by mid-2010. (See Comcast Enters the Wideband Era .) Like Cablevision, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is grappling with FiOS, and has announced plans to begin tests of Docsis 3.0 in New York later this year. (See Britt: Docsis 3.0 Coming to NYC.)

Today, Cablevision's fastest Docsis-based Internet service tier caps the upstream at 30 Mbit/s downstream and 5 Mbit/s upstream.

Rutledge said the capital spend for the Wideband project is connected with the MSO's plans to throw a WiFi canopy over its New York and Connecticut footprint.

Announced in May, Cablevision's WiFi plan, which will take more than two years to complete, will provide "free" access to the MSO's high-speed Internet subscribers. Cablevision may also offer access to the wireless network to non-subs for a fee. (See Cablevision High on WiFi.) The MSO has not announced any vendor partners, but there's been visual evidence suggesting that Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and BelAir Networks Inc. are in the mix, or at least involved in the MSO's technology bake-off.

"WiFi construction is progressing and you will be hearing from us soon about our launch plans," Rutledge said. "We think that will cement our relationship with our customers for the long haul."

He said Cablevision spent roughly $20 million in the second quarter on the WiFi and Docsis 3.0 buildout. "It's really two projects in one," Rutledge explained. "The total capital for that [combined project] over a three-year budget cycle is about $100 per customer or in the range of $315 million."

Fighting FiOS
Cablevision's second quarter financials once again showed that the MSO is still growing amid the specter of FiOS.

Revenues for the MSO's cable unit jumped 9 percent, to $1.24 billion. Cablevision also managed to add 7,000 basic video subscribers on a sequential quarter basis, but lost 7,000 basics when compared to year-ago totals. It ended the period with 3.13 million basic subs. (See Cablevision Posts Q2.)

In terms of more advanced services, Cablevision added 120,000 digital video subs, extending that total to 2.78 million, and a penetration of almost 90 percent. The MSO also gained 52,000 high-speed Internet customers (2.39 million total) and 81,000 digital voice subs (1.76 million total). Overall, Cablevision added 260,000 revenue generating units (RGUs), up 2.6 percent from the previous quarter. Revenue per subscriber also rose 2.1 percent, to $132.29, versus the first quarter.

"Cablevision continues to write the playbook for the rest of the cable industry on how to compete with Verizon," said Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Inc. analyst Craig Moffett in a note issued this morning. "In the two years since Verizon launched its FiOS TV service, Cablevision has actually gained net subscribers." Cablevision competes with Verizon FiOS in about one third of the cable MSO's footprint.

Rutledge said FiOS has been typical of other "overbuilds" Cablevision has dealt with in past years -- competitors are able to steal away customers in the "high single-digit" range in the first year, then reaches a "static point" after about two years. In markets where Cablevision has faced FiOS for two years, Cablevision's "losses have slowed to a trickle," Rutledge said.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
The 'gleaming city on a hill,' Steve Saunders calls it. But who is going to take us from today's NFV componentry to the grand future of a self-driving network? Here's a look at the vendors hoping to make it happen.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
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
Why Amazon May Be Cable's Biggest Threat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/22/2017
Could 5G Have Found Its Glass Ceiling?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2017
1 Million Pirate Set-Top Boxes Sold in the UK
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 9/20/2017
Can Fixed Wireless Fix Rural Broadband?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/25/2017
Comcast Shuts Down OTT Again
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/19/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed