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Altice USA Lights Up FTTH Service in Long Island 

Jeff Baumgartner

Giving Verizon Fios something new to fret about, Altice USA announced Monday that it has launched a symmetrical 1Gbit/s residential broadband service in "select areas" of Long Island.

The uncapped and unmetered broadband service is priced at $79.99 per month on a standalone basis, a company official told Light Reading.

Altice USA did not detail which parts of Long Island are currently eligible for the new gigabit offering, but noted the consumers there can reach out to the company directly for details about service availability. More homes in the greater New York City region will get access to it as the operator continues to deploy and activate its new fiber-to-the-home network, Altice USA said.

The launch marks the commercial debut of services on an FTTH network that Altice USA is building out in its Optimum (former Cablevision Systems) footprint in parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and in portions of the systems that Altice USA acquired from Suddenlink Communications. Altice USA serves almost 5 million residential and business customers across its Optimum and Suddenlink properties.

The initial commercial rollout in part of Long Island comes about 19 months after Altice USA announced that it would deploy a fiber-to-the-home network across the bulk of its footprint over the next five years and put speeds of 10 Gbit/s on its roadmap. (See Altice Plans FTTH for Entire US Footprint.)

Last month, Altice USA announced that it had begun a soft launch of its standalone 1-Gig Internet service. (See Altice USA Brings Gig Service to Broadway .)

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Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei talked up the company's FTTH initiative last week at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2018 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference. He said Altice USA expects to see a payback on the FTTH initiative in about two to two-and-a-half years based on just the reduction on opex and capex related to the buildout.

Goei didn't spell out how much Altice USA expects to spend on the FTTH upgrade. But he held that it is "cheaper than you think," hinting that the costs will be less than €500 ($579) per home passed. (See Altice USA's 'Full' MVNO Puts It in SIM City .)

The 1-Gig service will give Altice USA a new weapon to wield against Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), which has been selling a 1-Gig Fios service as a standalone for $69.99 per month, and for about $80 when it's bundled with TV and phone service and customers agree to a two-year contract. (See Verizon Fios Finally Goes Gigabit.)

As the FTTH rollouts expand, Altice USA will also have an option that outpaces its cable modem service in the Optimum footprint, which currently tops out at 400 Mbit/s in the downstream direction. Altice USA also plans to launch a gigabit service over its HFC network in the Optimum service area sometime in 2019.

Several Suddenlink systems have been using DOCSIS 3.0 technology for a residential broadband service that delivers up to 1 Gbit/s in the downstream direction. (See Suddenlink Joins Gigabit Club.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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