Like most of its cable peers, Altice USA is finally joining the gigabit gang in earnest, as it accelerates its upgrade to FTTH networks in much of its territory and rolls out DOCSIS 3.1 in the New York City metro area.
Speaking on a fourth-quarter earnings call jampacked with details Thursday evening, Altice USA executives updated financial analysts on their two-pronged strategy of (1) switching the majority of their 8.8-million-home footprint to FTTH networks and (2) simultaneously upgrading New York-area subscribers to D3.1 service on their legacy HFC network. The moves will enable the MSO to offer one-gigabit service to most of its nearly 4.2 million data customers.
Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said the MSO upgraded about 500,000 homes to FTTH in 2019, wrapping up the year with about 600,000 FTTH homes overall. At the same time, he said, the company has begun a fullscale rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 in the New York area, starting with the Bronx last month.
As a result, Goei said, Altice USA now offers 1Gbps service to nearly 30% of its data subscribers. That percentage should soar this year as the MSO pushes ahead with plans to upgrade hundreds of thousands of more homes to all-fiber lines this year while also rolling out D3.1 throughout the rest of its New York footprint.
In another move to boost its broadband service, Altice USA has begun deploying its new "Smart WiFi" technology to Altice One customers in the New York metro area. Altice One, a new all-services gateway platform, is an uber-box designed to manage both video and broadband services. The company closed 2019 with 543,000 unique Altice One customers, representing 17% of its total video customers, and is prepping a similar uber-box for its all-fiber customers.
Altice USA officials said the Smart WiFi technology would soon be available to customers in its Suddenlink-branded footprint as well. The new technology features a simplified network connection, eliminating the need for users to select between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz manually. The product also uses intelligent band and access point steering and mesh network technology to boost WiFi connections throughout the home network.
These moves come as Altice USA seeks to regain broadband sub growth momentum after a sluggish fourth quarter. The MSO did eke out a gain of 7,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, increasing its customer base to nearly 4.2 million. But, while the company enjoyed a resurgent December, those gains amounted to less than one third of the 22,000 subs it added a year earlier.
Altice USA executives blamed the sluggish broadband sub gains, as well as much steeper video sub losses, mostly on the expiration of various promotional offers. They stressed that the December resurgence has continued through the first two months of the new year.
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.