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Suddenlink begins gigabit upgrade

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 2:06pm
Brian Santo

Suddenlink has embarked on a three-year program, called Project Gigaspeed, to accelerate Internet service rates.

The company plans to increase the rate of its Flagship 15 Mbps tier to 200 Mbps, and its top Billboard 107 Mbps tier to 1 Gbps.

The company anticipates expanding its capital expenditures by $230 million (including an additional $35 million for the rest of this year) on Project Gigaspeed, which should be wrapped sometime in 2017.

This initiative, the company announced, “will include expenditures to upgrade data network headend equipment, replace any remaining deployed DOCSIS 2.0 customer premises equipment with DOCSIS 3.0 equipment, and complete our all-digital video conversion.  We expect to complete these enhancements in a phased, market-by-market approach, focusing first on our largest and most competitive markets.”

DOCSIS achieves higher speeds by aggregating channels. SVP of corporate communications Pete Abel said the company will also reserve channels for additional services such as 4K TV.

Abel noted Google and AT&T are beginning to establish gigabit-level services, and Project Gigaspeed with ensure Suddenlink’s competitive advantage for some time to come.  

Suddenlink reported second quarter revenues grew 5.9 percent to of $579.9 million, compared to the second quarter of the prior year. Net loss was $2.4 million for the second quarter 2014, compared to a net loss of $26.5 million for the second quarter 2013.

Basic video customers decreased by approximately 18,700 customers during the second quarter of 2014, an improvement compared to a loss of 23,100 basic video customers in the second quarter of 2013. 

 Residential high-speed Internet customers increased by approximately 200 during the second quarter 2014, an improvement compared to a loss of 8,700 residential high-speed Internet customers in the second quarter of 2013. 

Residential telephone customers grew by approximately 7,100 during the second quarter 2014, and 46,900, or 9.6 percent, during the trailing twelve months.

The company has also been in the process of bringing all phone operations in-house. Able said that program should be completed by the end of the year.

Total residential customer relationships were 1,403,500 at June 30, 2014, an increase of 29,600, or 2.2 percent, from June 30, 2013.

Total average monthly revenue per basic video customer (ARPU) for the second quarter was $163.92, an increase of 8.7 percent compared to the second quarter of the prior year.

"Our positive momentum continued in the second quarter. Customer relationships grew at a record pace in the trailing 12 months. Net gains accelerated for our market-leading Internet services. And revenue, EBITDA and cash flow were up significantly year over year," said Suddenlink Chairman and CEO Jerry Kent. "These results put us in excellent position to make strategic investments that will enable one Gigabit speeds and thereby retain our competitive advantage in Internet services."

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