Light Reading
MSO increases '08 capex for system upgrades, all-digital migrations, SDV, and other moves to free up bandwidth for more hi-def

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
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
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.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Saudi Arabia Upgrades Vocational Training System

9|19|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


The Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) has 100,000 students, 150 government-owned institutions and oversees 1000 private institutes. The CIO of TVTC explains that Huawei devices have allowed them to manage multiple datacenters using just one software program, scientifically tracking the progress of students and teachers, saving them millions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Media Solutions Are Here to Stay

9|19|14   |   4:35   |   (0) comments


The current media revolution requires rapid upgrades in technology. New formats (HD, 3D, 4K etc.) and the subsequent explosion of file sizes demand sophisticated network and storage architecture. Social media and the multiple distribution channels require a robust asset management system. Gartner analyst Venecia Liu speaks about the current technological trends in ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Microgenesis on Huawei's Switches

9|19|14   |   3:57   |   (0) comments


Microgenesis is a solutions and system integrator company in the Philippines whose areas of expertise include data centers, networking and security products. In this video, Executive Director Jeffrey Choa talks to us about his customers needs and they benefit from using Huawei switches.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Network Solutions Help the Philippines Jump Ahead

9|17|14   |   2:59   |   (0) comments


In the past, the Philippines has under-invested in technology. Now, the CEO of Softshell talks about how Huawei products help the Philippines jump ahead as the economy improves.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
VCS Observation for Safer Cities in the Netherlands

9|17|14   |   5:20   |   (0) comments


Holland's VCS Observation has been operating for 22 years. Its main goal is to get cities safer. CEO Wim van Deijzen tells us some of the challenges his company faces and how Huawei is helping to overcome these challenges.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
A Conversation With Serbia's Ministry of Interior

9|17|14   |   4:38   |   (0) comments


At HCC 2014, the Assistant Minister of the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Serbia talks to us about his projects and corporation with Huawei. Solutions like Safe City and E-Government and services like cloud computing are just some of the areas his department is interested in.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
IHS Analyst Discusses eLTE at CCW 2014

9|10|14   |   7:09   |   (0) comments


Thomas Lynch, associate director of critical communications at IHS Technology, talks about broadband in critical communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
TCAA on Huawei eLTE: A Broadband Solution for Mission-Critical Communications

9|10|14   |   2:29   |   (0) comments


At CCW2014 in Singapore, the TCCA's Phil Kidner talks about the importance of broadband data for critical communications.
LRTV Custom TV
Spotlight on Cisco: SDN for Optical Networks

9|8|14   |   9:27   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Greg Nehib talks OpenFlow and more on the 'Software-Defined Networking for Optical Networks' panel at the Big Telecom Event in June 2014.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Evolved Programmable Network (EPN)

9|8|14   |   4:05   |   (0) comments


A look at the various demos Cisco showed at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event highlighting Cisco's EPN innovation and how SDN and NFV technologies are enabling a variety of new services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Future of Ultra-Broadband, With Kevin Kelly (UBBF2014)

9|5|14   |   1:13   |   (1) comment


If you think the technological changes we've seen up to now are astounding, just wait until you see what the future has in store. Discuss upcoming breakthroughs with Kevin Kelly, Founding Executive Editor of Wired Magazine, at the Huawei Ultra-Broadband Forum on September 24.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 23, 2014, Denver, CO
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
A survey conducted by Vasona Networks suggests that 72% of mobile users expect good performance all the time, and they'll blame the network operator when it's not up to par.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
AT&T: We'll Bundle Fixed Wireless & DirecTV
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 9/15/2014
New NFV Forum Focused on Interoperability
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/16/2014
NFV & The Data Center: Top 10 Takeaways
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/18/2014
Connecticut Cities Crowdsource Gigabit Nets
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 9/15/2014
Pics: LR's Women in Telecom Breakfast
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 9/16/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed