Seeking to maintain the upper hand against Canada's largest cable operators, BCE Inc. is betting the farm on fiber to keep it the biggest and fastest broadband provider in the country.
Bell Canada -- which competes against such major Canadian cablecos as Rogers, Shaw, Cogeco and Videotron -- is aggressively building an all-fiber network throughout the nation. And it's using that growing network to offer gigabit speeds, topping out at 1.5 Gbit/s and earning a recent nod from PCMag as the fastest ISP in Canada.
So far, the Canadian telco has rolled out its new FTTP network to 50% of its nearly 10-million-premises footprint. It closed out June with 4.9 million homes and businesses passed by its new all-fiber lines, up more than 700,000 from a year earlier. It also has 4.8 million locations passed by fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) lines and 100,000 locations passed by its even newer fixed-wireless-to-the-home (WTTH) networks.
These multi-billion-dollar investments in fiber-builds appear to be paying off so far. In another strong performance fueled by fiber, Bell Canada reported Thursday morning it added more than 19,000 broadband customers in the second quarter, up 51% from the year-ago period. With that increase, the telco closed out June with more than 3.46 million residential data customers, up 4.1% from a year earlier, easily maintaining its lead over Rogers as Canada's largest broadband provider.
Bell Canada also notched nearly 17,000 new IPTV subscribers in the spring quarter, pushing its Fibe TV customer base over the 1.7 million mark. The quarterly gain, however, represented about a 20% drop from last year's sub increase as the slower growth of its Fibe TV footprint and increased OTT video substitution cut into the provider's gains.
Overall, the Montreal-based telco added 52,000 FTTH customers over the spring as it continued to extend its fiber footprint to new regions of the country.
"We're really seeing the benefits of our strategic fiber investments," said BCE COO Mirko Bibic, speaking on the company's earnings call this morning. Bibic, who will succeed the retiring George Cope as the company's president and CEO in January. "We'll continue on our quest to be the broadband leader in Canada."
Due primarily to these IPTV and broadband subscriber gains (as well as price hikes), Bell Canada reported its wireline operating revenue rose 0.9% year-over-year to nearly C$3.1 billion ($2.3 billion US). That increase would have been greater if not for non-recurring revenue generated a year ago from the G7 Summit and Ontario general election, the company said.
In a provocative new BBWN webinar, Broadband Success Partners' Jack Burton will delve into cable's next-gen HFC architecture plans and explain why going all-fiber may make more sense for operators right now.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.