BBWN Bites: Broadband Hits a Homer for Comcast in Q3
Also today, all US classrooms are connected, the FCC pats itself on its broadband back, Eutelsat looks into satellite issue, UK ISP hires ex-Virgin Media build guru, public broadcaster aims at Netflix and Russians devour streaming video.
The steady acquisition and retention of broadband customers helped Comcast post revenue of $26.83 billion for the quarter ended September 2019, up 5.33% compared with $22.14 billion in the year-ago period. Comcast has added more than 1 million new subs annually for 14 years in a row; in Q3, it hit a record high of 379,000 new broadband subscribers in the last three months. However, like its competitors, Comcast was hurt by cord-cutting, and lost 238,000 pay-TV customers (residential and business). (See Comcast's Video Business Hit as Broadband Soars in Q3 .)
"The classroom connectivity gap is closed," declared Evan Marwell, EducationSuperHighway founder and CEO, in the company's 2019 annual report on broadband deployment in US K-12. The combination of E-rate, matching funds from state governors and "the incredible efforts of service providers" led to tens of thousands of miles of new fiber that connected schools to modern broadband infrastructure -- and a world of educational (and career) opportunity for students across the US, regardless of location. In August 2020, EducationSuperHighway will sunset itself, having achieved its mission, Marwell wrote.
In its mandated annual report, the FCC again claimed it's doing a stellar job of closing the digital divide: In the last year, Americans without access to fixed broadband at the FCC's minimal speed (25 Mbit/s downstream, 3 Mbit/s upstream) dropped 18%, to 21.3 million from 26.1 million, the agency said.
Eutelsat is looking into an "incident" on one of the new Eutelsat 5 West B Satellite's two solar arrays, designed to deliver video broadcast services and Internet to the French, Italian and Algerian markets. The operator wants to determine any possible effect this incident could have on the satellite's performance and its customers.
Full-fiber provider TrueSpeed named former Virgin Media Head of Build on Project Lightning Simon Wall (bad-joke warning: Wall was GM at a fence company for a few months) its new director of operations. While at Virgin, Wall held other positions, many of which no doubt have prepared him to help rural UK operator TrueSpeed deploy its new gigabit-capable FTTP broadband network across parts of south-west England and meet its goal of covering 75,000 premises by 2021.
South African Broadcasting Co. (SABC) set itself a big goal: To take on Netflix. The public broadcaster's online news show is the second most popular source via web, and CEO Madoda Mxakwe hopes to translate that reputation into the OTT world. SABC plans to migrate to digital broadcasting and will launch a streaming service to compete with Netflix and others, reported mybroadband.co.
Russian audiences are devouring streaming media. In the first half of 2019, video services revenue grew 44.3% to 10.6 billion rubles ($160.6 million) versus the first half of 2018, according to research firm Telecom Daily. By year-end, all online video content (including media from services such as YouTube, iTunes and Google Play) will generate about 21.5 billion rubles ($340 million) -- seven years ago, it was less than 1 billion rubles ($16 million), the research firm noted.
Connected in the Classroom
Just about every classroom in every school across the US has broadband today, due to E-rate, state funding and the hard work of service providers, according to EducationSuperHighway. While many K-12 students use this tool for homework, some find it's handy for games and social media (especially during a dull class or detention).
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.