Building on practices and success in Europe, the US division of Altice is now kicking off a five-year plan to build fiber-to-the-home across its entire Optimum footprint and parts of its Suddenlink region in the States.
Unlike many cable competitors that are upgrading to DOCSIS 3.1, Altice is using FTTH and GPON for its next-generation ultra-broadband network, a network capable of delivering speeds of more than 10 Gbp/s, CEO Michael Combes told analysts in a second quarter earnings call.
Parent company Altice Group reported total revenue of $2.3 billion, up 3.2% versus the year-ago period. Altice US -- which includes Optimum and Suddenlink -- saw its revenue grow 3.2% compared with 2.2% in the second quarter of 2016.
After it completes the five-year FTTH rollout, Altice USA expects to serve 5.1 million households, according to its earnings presentation. Altice plans to cover all France by 2025, compared with about 11 million residences by year-end. It plans to grow from approximately 4 million households served by the end of 2017 in Portugal to a nationwide offering by 2020, the operator reported.
"We have successfully listed Altice USA, stepped up our fiber rollout here, and kept improving both our customer service metrics and margins. At the same time, we have seen a rapid deleveraging of our U.S. businesses, creating more optionality for capital deployment," said Combes.
US customers value speed, said Dexter Goei, chairman and CEO of Altice USA, during the presentation. (Transcript is available here.)
"The proportion of Altice USA new residential customers taking high-speed broadband packages 100 megabits or greater increased again to 79% in the second quarter with the proportion of customers base now enjoying over 100 megabits increasing to about 40%," he said. "But the average broadband speed taken by Altice USA’s customers has increased significantly to over 90 megabits in the second quarter, almost double from when we closed the acquisition of Optimum. Furthermore, Suddenlink has been recognized as the fastest Internet service provider in the U.S."
The ambitious fiber rollout plan brings scale and cost advantages, he said. Because Altice uses future-proof technology such as GPON -- which can be upgraded to XGS-PON or NG-PON2 -- the infrastructure will adapt with subscribers' evolving needs. And since the entire company relies on the same networking approach, it can leverage best practices, partnerships and technology advances, said Combes.
As a result, over the next year Altice will rebrand all its companies under the Altice name, he said.
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.