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Cable/Video

Cable One targets AT&T's DSL pullback

Cable One is wasting no time zeroing in on the part of its footprint where it faces DSL competition – or a lack of much DSL competition – from AT&T after the telco opted to stop new DSL signups.

Cable One has identified an 80,000-home area that overlaps with AT&T's DSL service. "Our marketing people are on top of taking advantage of that situation," Julie Laulis, Cable One's CEO, said on Thursday's Q3 earnings call.

AT&T confirmed last month that it had halted the sale of DSL to new customers as it instead applies a bigger focus on fiber-to-the-premises and wireless-based broadband services.

Cable One also offered some color on its recent acquisition of licensed CBRS spectrum. It bid for that spectrum for Wisper Internet, a fixed wireless ISP that Cable One recently invested in, according to Steven Cochran, Cable One's SVP and CFO.

"That just gives them more control and certainty of the business," he said.

Broadband growth continues in Q3

Cable One's strategy to focus on broadband and business services and largely ignore pay-TV losses continued into Q3. The operator's residential broadband base grew by more than 165,000, or 26.7% year-over-year, and by more than 26,000, or 3.5%, versus Q2 2020. Cable One ended Q3 with 784,000 total residential subs, a figure that includes about 5,000 from its recent acquisition of ValuNet Fiber.

Cable One's video base (residential and business) shrunk by another 21,000 subs, or 7.1%, to 277,000.

The operator ended the period with a total of 699,000 non-video customers, representing 71.1% of its base. Cable One also closed out Q3 with data penetration of 36.8%, up 4.6%, and video penetration of just 11.8%, down 2.1%.

Laulis said Cable One, which competes with FTTP in less than 10% of its footprint, is seeing 70% of new broadband customers take speeds of 100 Mbit/s or more. Sales of Cable One's unlimited data option to new customers is about half of what it was before the pandemic, as the operator temporarily gave unlimited away for a few months during the early stages of the pandemic marked by stay at home orders.

However, unlimited data, an option that costs an extra $40 per month, remains the "major contributor" to Cable One's ARPU growth, Laulis said.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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