& cplSiteName &

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
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Re-usable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into re-usable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (1) comment


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Verizon CFO: Eat Our (Fixed) 5G Dust!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2016
WiCipedia: The Women Helping Women Edition
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.