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Sandy-Related Repair Costs Could Reach $600M

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Superstorm Sandy could end up costing network operators $550 million to $600 million in clean-up and repair costs, reports Reuters, citing an estimate from Barclays Capital analyst James Ratcliffe that factored in the anticipated financial impact at Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S). He said that Cablevision will have "the biggest impact relative to its size."

    Individual service providers have yet to reveal anticipated Sandy-related costs, but more details about the financial impact of the storm could emerge next week, when Cablevision and TW Cable report third-quarter earnings. Verizon, meanwhile, said it's too early to estimate the financial impact from the storm, but did note in an 8-K filing Friday that Sandy will have a "significant" effect on the company's fourth-quarter operating results. (See Service Providers Still Fighting in Sandy's Aftermath.)

  • Service providers are working round the clock to get services restored, but access to power appears to be the long pole in the tent. Cablevision, for example, reported that about half its customers were without power as of Thursday morning. Verizon spokesman Bill Kula confirmed that the company expects to have services back up "in the hardest impacted zones ranging from a few days to up to two weeks." The latter timeframe is the "worst case scenario based on the restoration of commercial power," he added. In the meantime, Verizon, which hasn't said how many customers have been affected by the storm, has hundreds of central offices operating on backup generators. "The broader story is that we're making steady progress daily," Kula said.

  • Boxee is priming the pump for its new $99 broadband-connected device with a set of introductory offers, including three months of Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), three months of its cloud-based No Limits DVR (normally $14.99 per month), a $5.99 credit from Vudu, and a free month of Spotify Premium. The Boxee TV device, which blends OTT video and apps with over-the-air TV, went on sale Thursday at Walmart stores, Walmart.com and at Boxee.tv. Boxee is also working on deals that will bring authenticated TV Everywhere content to its new platform. (See Boxee CEO Now a Friend of Big Cable?)

  • Over-the-top video revenues will surge from an expected $8.2 billion this year to more than $32 billion by 2017, predicts ABI Research . Subscription services such as Netflix have dominated the OTT market of late, but the firm expects OTT rentals to supplant subscription revenues by 2014.

  • Sales of set-top boxes with Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) on board rose 33 percent in the first half of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, says Infonetics Research Inc. , noting that it expects MoCA to become the de facto wired technology for video distribution to devices in the home.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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