& cplSiteName &

Consolidated Speeds FairPoint Integration

Carol Wilson

Consolidated Communications plans to invest heavily in fiber networks, targeting a half-million homes acquired in its purchase of FairPoint, with the intent of aggressively moving the combined company forward. (See Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B.)

And while Consolidated Communications Inc. executives faced some investment analyst skeptics on today's earnings call, CEO and President Bob Udell and CFO Steve Childers stuck to their guns on the company's strategy, pointing to other significant moves in recent days. Those include launching the Consolidated brand across all FairPoint Communications Inc. properties, offering DirecTV Now as an over-the-top video service and beefing up its commercial services with a new managed security offer.

Key to the plan is rapid consolidation of FairPoint, which Udell called a "transformational acquisition" in that it doubled his company's service footprint. Not all such major mergers have progressed smoothly for independent telcos, but Consolidated has initiated what it calls "fast-start" customer and network initiatives that Udell says have already reduced call center response times by 40% and sped call-handling as well.

The upbeat message lifted Consolidated's stock price by almost a dollar, or 6.4%, in trading during and after the call, despite the fact the company's revenues were down in the fourth quarter to $356.4 million from $374.5 million a year earlier and, separate of a one-time benefit from the massive corporate tax cut, the company posted a four-cent loss versus an 11-cent profit a year ago.

Udell said the planned upgrades in Northern New England will mean that half-a million homes will see increased broadband speeds, with 84% of those homes seeing speeds tripled, and 100,000 customers gaining access to gigabit service. In addition, Consolidated will more aggressively market those higher speeds, which have been proven to deliver higher average revenue per customer (ARPU), reduce churn and even win back some customers lost to competitors, he said.

This "fast-start" approach to absorbing FairPoint means Consolidated will gain its anticipate $55 million in cost synergies on or before the two-year timetable, even as it improves customer service, he added.

The Consolidated exec also pointed to new commercial offerings, saying the company will roll out "our suite of cloud services MPLS and SD-WAN in second quarter of the year." Commercial services were a bright spot, up 1.4% over last year.

To compete with the OTT players, telcos need to be nimbler by accelerating network automation. Join us in Austin, Texas from May 14-16 for our fifth-annual Big Communications Event as we tackle challenges like automation. The event is free for communications service providers -- secure your seat today!

Udell said the company is also adding resources to its small to mid-sized business sales effort and expanding its fiber tower footprint as well, adding sites in Maine, Minnesota and Illinois to reach more than 2,700 sites overall.

Adding DirecTV Now to its offer -- it already offers HBO Now -- might move more customers onto streaming and off capital-intensive content delivery, the Consolidated execs noted. They also called attention to the company's efforts to support streaming video and other real-time traffic by giving it prioritization for a better customer experience.

"Not all of our competitors do that," Udell noted. In addition, the Consolidated installation process involves checking the quality of the in-home WiFi signal, he said.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Featured Video
From The Founder
John Chambers is still as passionate about business and innovation as he ever was at Cisco, finds Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
June 26, 2018, Nice, France
September 12, 2018, Los Angeles, CA
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Telco Job Prospects Go From Bad to Worse
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2018
Larry Ellison Laughed at the Cloud, Now the Cloud Is Laughing Back
Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading, 6/20/2018
Mavenir's Billion-Dollar Blueprint
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 6/18/2018
5G Transport – Where Do We Start?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, 6/21/2018
Animals with Phones
Backing Up Your Work Is Crucial Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed