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08 Jan

The Global Cable Industry to Adopt 10G to Compete with 5G Networks

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The cable TV segment, represented by NCTA, CableLabs, as well as Cable Europe, has introduced the plans of the industry to adopt “10G” or 10 Gbps data networks as a means to compete with 5G wireless networks’ onset. Competition is spurring companies that provide cheap cable and internet packages to ramp up from 1 Gbps modems available today to 10 Gbps and beyond in the future.

The 5G technology, which promises to allow wireless data transfer in one gigabits per second speed, is posing a threat to telecommunications companies, including phone and cable operators. CableLabs said the segment has moved from four percent of houses at a gigabit per second in 2016 to eighty percent last year.

To support the “10G” rollout, the Intel Company will deliver ten-gigabit-ready technology from network infrastructure to residential gateways. Cable providers, whose networks presently pass ninety percent of residences, comprising Cox Communications® and Comcast®, plus international operators, comprising Vodafone, Liberty Global, Telecom Argentina, and more, are implementing the “10G” initiative. Lab tests are already underway, while field tests are starting in the year 2020.

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The NCTA President, Michael Powell, said, “With groundbreaking, scalable capacity and speeds, the 10G platform is the wired network of the future that will power the digital experiences and imaginations of consumers for years to come. As an industry, we are dedicated to delivering an exceptional national infrastructure that will power digital advancement and propel our innovation economy into the future.”

The foundation of it is already proven, with US cable networks offering one gigabit internet service across eighty percent of the nation up from five percent in 2016. Comparable gigabit services are also available from companies that offer cheap cable and internet packages across the globe. Eventually, “10G” will deliver the symmetrical speeds that are up to ten times quicker than today’s quickest networks.

Build with a capital-efficient approach as well as leveraging the cable networks deployed throughout much of Europe, North America, and Asia, the global “10G” network will support a wide range of immersive digital services as well as applications, said the cable companies.

On the path to achieving “10G”, internet providers will keep upgrading their networks using a combination of technologies that presently exist, along with the ongoing advancements of hardware, software, as well as techniques being developed and trialed by technologists as well as vendors.

03 Nov

Consumer Traits in the Cable and Internet Segment in Q3

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Cable television viewership and customer counts keep dropping as the segment sees ever-growing competition from streaming upstarts. Cord cutters see them as alternatives to standard cable TV. However, Comcast®, which provides cheap cable and internet packages to customers, had a fine third quarter (Q3). Further, it added to its footprint in the country, picking up 288,000 net and new subscriber relationships. In the Q3 earnings call the CEO of Comcast®, Brian Roberts said, “We surpassed 30 million customer relationships.”

In an age when people are also looking for alternatives to traditional cable TV, the Philadelphia-based telecommunications company is unperturbed by the signs cable TV segment is dwindling.

“The cord is still intact,” said the Executive VP of XFINITY® Services, Matt Strauss. “When people describe cord cutting I think in many ways it’s a misnomer because we don’t see people cutting the cord for high-speed data.”

In Q3, the Philly-based Telco added new broadband customers. Its broadband customer base is increasing at around 5.5 percent, which is more than the rest of the segment, as per Cowen analysts. They predict that the company could add another one million customers in 2019.

Part of its strength in broadband additions can be attributed to an increasing requirement for a quick and persistent residential internet connection and a strong economy.

“The utility of broadband access is high and rising,” wrote Morgan Stanley analysts. It conducted an industry survey and found that the risk of cutting the internet broadband cord was actually low among respondents but particularly among cable subs. That possibly has to do with distinctions between how telecommunications companies and cable providers deliver the internet. The latter have a natural leg up on the former when it comes to providing quicker internet due to the differences in infrastructure.

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In the telecom segment, the cheapest broadband option is usually Digital Subscriber Line. The DSL internet service is delivered over existing copper wire. It is slow, which limits the capability for streaming. On the other hand, the cheapest cable-based internet option is delivered over existing coaxial cable. You can also subscribe to cheap cable and internet packages from any of the coaxial cable operators.

At a comparatively higher cost, coax cable internet provides quicker speeds as well as more reliability. Fiber-based internet is the quickest and most expensive option delivered by telecommunications and cable operators.

Comcast® has a bigger broadband business than subscription TV business. The Telco also touts the time its subs stream Netflix programs on their XFINITY® X1 device. Strauss said, “In a relatively short amount of time we’ve become, in our footprint, the number one platform for Netflix.” That is a positive thing for Comcast®.

11 May

Comcast® CFO Sounds Positive on the Prospects of a Deal with Sky Plc

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It has been close to three years since Michael Cavanagh took charge at Comcast® as their Chief Financial Officer. Addressing a gathering at a recent investor conference held in Florida’s Palm Beach, he talked about the prospects of a deal with Sky plc. While other participants of the conference were in the attendees at Deutsche Bank Media and Telecom Conference, Cavanagh appeared live in a webcast and talked about how buying stakes in the pay-TV broadcaster could boost Comcast’s portfolio, which includes offering cheap cable and internet packages.

“We don’t see [Sky] as a satellite platform. We look at [Sky] being very distinct from what we see from some of the legacy satellite players in markets that we know,” he said in approval of Sky’s prospects to rival other companies that provide cable bundles much like Comcast®. If Comcast’s deal with Sky plc goes through, it will make the cable giant a rival of not just satellite providers, even the online streaming services will pose a challenge to Comcast®-Sky plc offerings.

Comcast® provides cheap cable and internet packages for residential customers under their Xfinity® brand. The pay TV broadcaster has a presence in markets United Kingdom, Germany, Ireland, Australia, Italy, and even offers an over-the-top (OTT) service in Spain. Comcast® unveiled its plans to acquire stakes in Sky plc last week. In a digital era where streaming services pose a challenge to cable providers that offer bundle packages, there are several avenues for customers to stream programming. No wonder, Cavanagh chose to appear live in a webcast during the investor conference.

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There was also a discussion between Wall Street analysts, who questioned Comcast’s bid for a satellite platform, which will limit two-interactive TV for customers. In response to such skepticism, Cavanagh said that the cable giant, NBCU, and Sky plc could synergize programming, in particular for film and sports content, and cooperate in matters of innovative technology. As an example of prospective synergies, the Comcast® CFO pointed out to a Sky Q box and Xfinity® X1 set-top-box integration, and Sky plc as a content aggregator.

“We don’t see it [Sky] as a satellite business, but much more as an enabling technology that, as they invest in new technology, there will be other ways for people to experience that video content,” Cavanagh told the investors. However, he has not commented about the prospects of a two-way bidding war between Comcast® and 21st Century Fox for stakes in Sky plc. Whether the best internet provider could bag the European broadcaster remains to be seen.

07 May

Survey on Wireless Carriers Reveal Findings Favorable to Xfinity Mobile®

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As per the findings of a recent survey by Market Strategies International, Xfinity Mobile® has helped Comcast® become a key player in what they term as “quad play” market. This finding comes following the launch of the cable operator’s wireless service, which was almost a year ago.

The industry-wide term “quadruple play” refers to the marketing of bundled broadband internet, cable TV, and wired phone with wireless services. In other words, if a cable provider or other players in the industry use “quad play” in marketing communications, it refers to cheap cable and internet packages with telephone plans bundled.

As part of the survey in March, the research and consulting firm has interviewed 1044 online customers from the US who are aged between 18 and 64. The analysts of Market Strategies International used the survey findings to match it with the market share of wireless carriers, and it showed that the price structure of Xfinity Mobile® has lured subscribers from all main carriers.

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Comcast® offered cheap cable and internet packages previously, and its Xfinity Mobile® line launched in 2017 has helped to keep the cable subscribers from cord cutting. It refers to choosing pay-TV alternatives for streaming programming over the web, through services that provide the same. Since Comcast’s wireless service was launched in the era of streaming, it was able to retain customers.

As per reports, Comcast® has signed up 577,000 wireless customers in the first quarter of this year. The customer base of Xfinity Mobile® is set to increase, as the survey suggests that plenty of customers who previously subscribed to other wireless carriers have switched to the wireless service because Comcast® offers a much affordable deal in comparison. The respondents of the survey, which makes up 60 percent of the sample, now use Xfinity Mobile® as their main wireless service since it’s affordable.

Other than the price structure of Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile®, some survey respondents also switched to that because they were dissatisfied by their previous wireless service. “Consumers that sign up for multiple services are more valuable for the company,” said Jeffrey Johnson, the Director of Research and Consulting at Market Strategies International. “Our research shows that Comcast® is now firmly rooted in quad play — a space that only AT&T® and Verizon® have successfully dominated in the past.”

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