Light Reading

Mediacom Adds $30M to '08 Capex

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
2/26/2008
50%
50%

Mediacom Communications Corp. execs say 2008 will be a “peak year” for capex spending as they outlined plans for an aggressive digital simulcast rollout, some limited all-digital migrations, and a foray into switched digital video (SDV). Most of those moves, announced Tuesday, are aimed to help Mediacom prepare for the February 2009 broadcast TV digital transition and to free up space for a wider selection of high-definition television (HDTV) programming.

The company expects to increase its capex spending this year by about $30 million to an expected range of $255 million to $265 million. That will represent about 19 percent of revenues in 2008, versus 18 percent last year.

Despite that increase, “we expect a positive swing of $18 million in free cash flow in relation to 2007,” company chairman and CEO Rocco Commisso said Tuesday.

Revving up digital
Mediacom plans to deploy digital simulcast to 50 percent of its systems by year-end, up from about 25 percent today. In addition to offering the entire programming lineup in a cleaner digital format, the company believes this will allow it to serve more customers with less expensive all-digital set-tops.

Mediacom also plans to introduce SDV in three markets in 2008, a move that should enable it to re-tag valuable spectrum for HD services. The MSO did not identify which markets are targeted for SDV, but the technique is already favored by Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC). Cox Communications Inc. and Charter Communications Inc. have also started to deploy it. Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), meanwhile, has said it expects to deploy SDV to 15 percent of its footprint this year. (See Comcast Spreads the Love , Charter Charts First SDV Course , and Cox Flips BigBand's DV Switch .)

Although between 80 percent to 90 percent of of Mediacom’s systems are built out to at least 750 MHz, the MSO is taking some steps to make its 550 MHz systems and some smaller properties more competitive through bandwidth upgrades or all-digital migrations.

“The side benefit of this is it will help us expedite the delivery of more HD channels to those systems [and offer] a more competitive product,” said John Pascarelli, Mediacom’s EVP of operations.

Commisso outlined a plan to offer 25 high-definition channels for free to entry-level digital customers. He reiterated that the total HD menu will rise to about 40 linear channels when premium hi-def networks and other programming services are added in.

He also stressed that Mediacom wants to avoid playing the “tonnage game in HD,” referring to a competitive stance being taken by DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), which presently offers about 90 “national” channels in HD.

Instead, Mediacom will push the availability of the most popular hi-def nets and expand its selection of HD-VOD titles. “We’re focused on putting on what people are watching in HD rather than trying to get out there and sell tonnage,” Commisso said.

More love for Docsis 3.0
Mediacom also changed its stance a bit when it comes to Docsis 3.0, a new CableLabs platform that promises to push speeds beyond 100 Mbit/s.

Although it talked about taking a “back seat” on the technology during its earnings call last August, Pascarelli noted that the MSO plans to start a Docsis 3.0 lab test this year while it monitors some live trials going on at CableLabs. (See Mediacom Takes 'Back Seat' on Docsis 3.0 .)

Mediacom also began testing of a “Powerboost” product last month that doubles speeds when capacity is available on the network. Cox and Comcast are among MSOs that already offer that capability.

But not all of the MSO's cable modem strategies revolve around faster speeds. Mediacom is relaunching a “lite” cable modem tier for $19.95 in the first quarter. Mediacom hopes the product will allow it to steal away some share from DSL providers and complement its existing 15 Mbit/, 10 Mbit/, and 8 Mbit/s (downstream) speed tiers.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News




Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Docsis 3.0 Strategies: From Product Development to Service Deployment, a conference that will take a comprehensive look at the cable industry's plans to roll out its next-generation architecture around the world. To be staged in Denver, March 19, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Choosing a Technology Supplier? Consider Changing Your Selection Criteria
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 5/18/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Smarter 'Dumb' TVs Will Drive OTT Adoption
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/18/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones