Cabovisão Joins Europe's Speed Club

Portuguese operator Cabovisão S.A. has joined Europe's cable elite with the launch of two new high-speed broadband services, Nitro 120 Mbit/s and Nitro 60 Mbit/s, which the operator claims are the fastest in the country.

Other cable players around Europe have been launching similar offerings as they put their EuroDocsis 3.0 technology into action and look to steal a march on their telco rivals, many of which are rolling out VDSL2-based or fiber access broadband services of their own. (See Euro MSO Hits Back at IPTV, Liberty Takes 120 Mbit/s to the Dutch, ONO! Another Docsis 3.0 Story!, Europeans Ramp FTTH Rollouts, and BT Ramps Its FTTx Plans.)

And one of those other trendsetters is fellow Portuguese MSO ZON TVCabo . (See TVCabo Seeks Docsis Independence.)

Cabovisão, which has just over 142,000 broadband customers, needs all the service ammunition it can get. Incumbent Portugal Telecom SGPS SA (NYSE: PT) is pushing hard with its triple-play package (Internet access, voice, and IPTV) and rolling out GPON-based fiber-access broadband. (See AlcaLu's GPON Goes Portuguese and PT Deploys Moto STBs.)

Other Portuguese service providers are migrating to next-generation access and multimedia services too. (See Sonaecom Reports Q1, Portugal 'Gets' FTTH, Sonaecom Enhances IPTV, PT Uses DS2 for IPTV, and Sonaecom Plans $350M FTTH Build.)

The pressure of more intense competition for Cabovisão has shown in the fiscal third-quarter results (ending May 31) of parent, Canadian cable operator Cogeco Communications (Toronto: CCA). (See Cogeco Cable Reports Q3.)

While reporting an 11 percent increase in revenues and a 9.6 percent increase in operating income for the third quarter, Cogeco noted it had taken a near $400 million non-cash hit to its Cabovisão investment "as a result of recurring competitive pressure resulting in subscriber losses that were more severe than originally anticipated."

Cabovisão ended the third quarter with 678,000 revenue-generating units (RGUs), down by 12,190, and saw its broadband customer base shrink by 4,420 to 142,184.

As a result, the Portuguese MSO saw its third-quarter revenues dip by 10 percent to $57.6 million, and its operating margin slip to 25.9 percent from 37.6 percent a year earlier.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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