Cable One to cut 4% of workforce

Cable One's layoffs likely will affect around 120 positions, in part in the company's customer service organization. But Cable One isn't alone in shedding jobs.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

June 14, 2024

3 Min Read
Image representing layoffs of employees
(Source: Andrii Yalanskyi/Alamy Stock Photo)

Cable operator Cable One said it will shave 4% of its employees in an effort to "enhance the company's ability to grow." The move comes as Cable One works to continue gaining new customers while maintaining its average revenues per user (ARPU).

"The organizational changes include (i) restructuring how the company's systems are managed geographically to help facilitate operational focus on customer growth and experience, market expansion and service delivery, network reliability and performance, brand awareness, and local presence in each of the company's regions; and (ii) streamlining the company's customer service organization to optimize functional management and better align with the company's service delivery model," Cable One wrote in an SEC filing that was first noted by Policyband.

Cable One reported just under 3,000 full-time and part-time employees at the end of last year, which likely indicates the company's layoffs will affect around 120 positions. The company said the layoffs would ultimately result in $14 million in annual run-rate savings.

"We see this as unusual for Cable One," wrote the financial analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets in a note to investors Friday on the layoffs. "While the fundamentals clearly are not great given its strategic pivot, we take this more as a sign of a continuous improvement mindset as opposed to a situation where trends are getting worse."

The move also comes just months after Cable One appointed Ken Johnson – previously the company's chief technology and innovation officer – as its new chief operating officer.

Cable One is unique in the US cable industry as the only major player to grow its subscriber base in the first quarter of this year. Cable One reported the addition of 7,000 new customers during the period while other big cable players like Comcast and Charter Communications lost customers.

However, Cable One continues to toy with a new approach to the market that involves some cheaper offerings and promotions, an effort kickstarted by Cable One's management in the latter part of last year. That effort has dragged at Cable One's ARPU – figures that historically were the highest in the US cable industry.

Cable One, like other players in the cable industry, has been buffeted by a number of factors including the rise of fixed wireless access (FWA) services from the likes of T-Mobile and Verizon. The company is also suffering through a period of relative stability among its customers due to the lower number of Americans moving to a new residence – a big driver for customer additions in the US broadband industry. Finally, Cable One counts a total of 48,000 customers on the US government's now-shuttered Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

During Cable One's quarterly earnings call last month, CEO Julia Laulis said the company's new promotional strategy will pay off in the future.

"We believe that expanding our market share and growing customers ultimately sets us up for positive financial performance over the long term," Laulis said, according to Seeking Alpha. "While ARPU this quarter declined as expected, we believe this decline will ameliorate as we round the corner on the activities I just described. We are confident in our trajectory moving forward."

In March, MoffettNathanson's Craig Moffett wrote that Cable One is not "in play." But he suggested that the operator's current low valuation "inevitably invites speculation about a possible acquisition."

Finally, it's worth noting that Cable One isn't the only US Internet provider shedding jobs. Moreover, vendors in the industry have engaged in similar efforts.

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About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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