Charter Communications’ all digital conversion initiative is now underway in Southern California, Alabama and Georgia.
With the reclaimed bandwidth from the analog-to-digital conversion, which is scheduled to be completed across Charters footprint this year, Charter will serve up more than 200 HD channels, offer 10,000 VOD options and increase its data speeds. Once the all-digital upgrade is wrapped up, Charter will double residential Internet speeds from 30 Mbps to 60 Mbps on the downstreams at no additional cost.
“By removing outdated analog signals, we regain bandwidth in our network enabling us to provide more HD channels and open the door to faster Internet speeds and future innovation,” said Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge. “This upgrade speaks to the fact that Charter is providing our customers with the very best products at the very best value, and we’ve invested more than $2 billion in our fiber-rich network to make that happen.”
Charter started ramping up its all-digital effort after receiving a CableCard waiver from the Federal Communications Commission in order to use two-way, dual-security HD set-top boxes. Charter’s first major all-digital conversion took place in North Texas early last year followed by conversion projects in California, South Carolina, Michigan and Massachusetts. The all-digital project also got underway in Missouri and Southern Illinois earlier this year.
In order to make the digital conversions work, subscribers need to get Charter-issued digital set-top boxes for each of their televisions. In California, Charter said that more than 90 percent of its subscribers already have digital devices for at least one TV in their homes.
Charter finished up last year with 15 percent of its footprint converted to all digital. During Charter’s fourth-quarter and year-end earnings call last month, Charter chief financial officer and executive vice president Christopher Winfrey said all digital has already had an impact.
“In the markets where we've gone all-digital, we're growing video,” he said. “And it's not just improving on video; we're performing better across all products in those markets where we've gone all-digital relative to those where we have yet to go all-digital.”
The all-digital upgrade for customers in Southern California is scheduled to begin in late March and run through early September with groups of customers transitioning to an all-digital network on a rolling basis. The upgrade will impact multiple communities including Monterey Park, West Covina, Azusa, Norwalk, Pasadena, Cerritos, Ventura, Malibu, Whittier, Riverside, Victorville, Hesperia, Big Bear, Lake Arrowhead, Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, Atascadero, Paso Robles, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Turlock, Escalon, Gilroy, Watsonville, California City and Porterville.
The Alabama and Georgia all-digital upgrade for customers is scheduled to begin on April 1 and will run through late August. The first group of customers that will transition are located in Montgomery, Ala., and will be followed by the communities of Lanett, Columbus and LaGrange, Georgia. Other cities across both states will transition to an all-digital network on a rolling basis.